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An anniversary November 25, 2008

Posted by sharon in Uncategorized.

It’s 45 years and 3 days since November 22, 1963. I was 12 years old, in a junior high classroom in Dallas. Our teacher came in and told us that Kennedy had been shot. My first question was, “Not here, right? In Ft. Worth?” (where the entourage had spent the morning). JFK’s death, and later RFK and MLK, changed our country in ways that we are still only beginning to understand. I think that’s one of the reasons that Barack Obama’s campaign and election has generated such enthusiasm and, yes, euphoria (or O-phoria, as David Brooks has coined), and why Ted Kennedy’s symbolic passing of the torch meant so much to me. I feel like we are coming out of a long dark tunnel back into the light. Finally we again have a leader who is both pragmatic and inspirational, who assures us that we are all in this together and we will be okay if we just stick together. My own fears have been calmed considerably each time I hear him speaking in that calm, confident, competent voice.

In one of JFK’s last speeches, the commencement address at American University, he said, “So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

He was talking about the Soviet Union, but he might just as well have been talking about our internal divisions. It’s been a long time since we’ve heard sentiments like that from any of our leaders, of any party. Until now.



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