Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend John?

My wife and I spent an afternoon at the JFK Library in Boston. Since our trip to Texas and our visit to the LBJ Library, we’ve decided to make visiting Presidential Libraries a sort of hobby.

At the LBJ library, the media exhibits hit home since they reflected our childhood and coming of age. Those formative years when breaking news meant something. Those years when one read a newspaper to get the story.

The era of Vietnam, race riots, Johnson’s Great Society, the realities of an increasingly complex and fragmented world and the joys of A Charlie Brown Christmas and the wonder of men landing on the moon.

The Kennedy Library offered much of the same, albeit more limited as was his Presidency.

We were both struck by the differences in the tone and timbre of the politics of the day. The video of the famous Kennedy-Nixon debate was shocking in the lack of anger and incivility.

Two men of differing ideologies and political persuasions argued for their positions, they did not engage in vitriol and character assassination of their opponent. They argued with logic, intelligence, compassion, and civility. The contrast to the world of today could not be more startling or disheartening.

Kennedy was a magnificent orator. We would do well to listen to some of that wisdom as we consider the choices for President.

Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.

 Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.

 For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.

It would serve all Americans well to visit a place like this library. I fear for many Americans it might be their first time IN a library, but we can hope.

Kennedy recognized a lack of education as one of the greatest risks to this country and the world. His words presaged the depths to which we’ve embraced ignorance and intolerance as substitutes for hard work and compassion.

Has anybody here, seen my old friend John? Can you tell me where he’s gone…?

Some of you will remember, do the country a favor and educate those that never had the opportunity to experience the hope of that era.

Show them there is wisdom to be found, but it takes more than 144 characters and spelling counts.

P.S. For a memory sure to bring a smile, click here

4 thoughts on “Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend John?

  1. It’s a lovely site, all around. Your mention of the civility of the Nixon-Kennedy debates is telling in itself, since that could be seen as the era Trump’s trying to evoke without realizing he’s a large part of the problem he’s decrying. Or should we say, as you suggest, that real character counts more than 12 dozen thumb-driven characters.

  2. Lovely song and great memories from your post. I miss the critical thinking and thoughtful discussions my parents and their friends had. And rhe calm professionalism of Walter Cronkite.

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