“Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans…” President John F. Kennedy
The winds of change—unstoppable and inevitable—course through these United States. Often such change begins with destruction of what was, scattering the pieces of the past askew. But like a forest fire destroying lives to prolong life, the devastation brings opportunity.
In 2016 anger drove many Americans to abandon principals—to ignite the flames of destruction—in exchange for a firestorm named Trump. They believed the mere act of burning down the past would set it right.
But even a devastating fire leaves some things unharmed. It does not destroy all the trees.
This election will not be decided by people like myself who will vote for anyone but Donald Trump.
This election will not be decided by those who would grant Trump the Presidency without the benefit of an election.
This election will not be decided by those who have already made up their minds.
This election will be decided by a new generation. And they have the clarity of the past to measure the need for real, rational change.
History may not repeat, but it rhymes (a quote attributed to Mark Twain but who knows?) Here, the rhyme is the rise of a new generation to seize the mantle of leadership.
Men like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders represent those of the Kennedy age who have served their country as they saw fit to do it. While I may not agree with everything they represent, they have been men of integrity. Not perfect, not flawless, but committed to fundamental honesty.
It is time they recognize the moment to pass the torch has arrived.
Pete Buttigieg ( well-educated, articulate, Navy veteran) and Amy Klobuchar (an accomplished lawyer and Senator) represent the rise of a new generation. Their resumes read like the American dream, striving for excellence.
While John Kennedy’s generation rose to preeminence tempered by World War II and the Cold War, this new generation is tempered by asymmetric warfare, instant communication, climate change, a more vibrant global economy, and complex–in some cases nuclear armed–geopolitics.
There has never been a time more critical for a cerebral President, attuned to embracing complexities, than now.
In 1959, during the race between Kennedy and Nixon, Kennedy’s Catholicism posed a major issue for voters. His youth posed another. These were divisive issues upon which many voters based their decisions. Yet that generation rose to the challenge.
In 1960, the idea that someday there would be a Black President was the stuff of disbelief for some and disaster for others.
Times changed and it came to pass.
Now, there is the real chance of a woman or a gay person occupying the White House. That this possibility exists is a good thing, that some will consider these salient issues upon which to base their votes shows we still have a ways to go.
And the only way we will get there is to learn from the past, but look forward to the future.
I, for one, am excited by the prospect of a new generation of American Leadership.