23 March, 2012

Mr. Pogo Goes To Washington

It has now been over 50 years since that memorable inaugural address of President John F. Kennedy. I posted some of it a while back in Camelot. I've been thinking again about his words though, and below are a few excerpts that I find particularly striking.

"So let us begin anew - remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious ... proposals for the ... control of arms ... . Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce. ... And if a beach-head of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a ... new world ... where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved."

I wanted to re-post it because although Kennedy was speaking about our nation's conflicts with other nations, the words work just as well for what is happening within our country today. I fear Pogo - Walt Kelly's immortal cartoon character - was right. "We have met the enemy, and he is us." The phrase perfectly encapsulates the nature of today's political landscape and the foibles of the American politician - especially those who have sought to lead.

I fear they just don't get it.     Yet.

One can only hope they figure out what the average American already knows - before it is too late.