CPC Report; An unabashedly liberal perspective 

22 November 2010- JFK Memorial Special Edition

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JFK's Acceptance at 1960 Democratic Convention

Governor Stevenson, Senator Johnson, Mr. Butler, Senator Symington, Senator Humphrey, Speaker Rayburn, fellow Democrats, I want to express my thanks to Governor Stevenson for his generous and heart-warming introduction.

It was my great honor to place his name in nomination at the 1956 Democratic Convention, and I am delighted to have his support and his counsel and his advice in the coming months ahead.

Let me say first that I accept the nomination of the Democratic Party.

I accept it without reservation and with only one obligation, the obligation to devote every effort of my mind and spirit to lead our Party back to victory and our Nation to greatness.

I am grateful, too -- I am grateful, too, that you have provided us with such a strong platform to stand on and to run on. Pledges which are made so eloquently are made to be kept. "The Rights of Man" -- the civil and economic rights essential to the human dignity of all men -- are indeed our goal and are indeed our first principle. This is a Platform on which I can run with enthusiasm and with conviction.

And I am grateful, finally, that I can rely in the coming months on many others: On a distinguished running-mate who brings unity and strength to our Platform and our ticket, Lyndon Johnson; on one of the most articulate spokesmen of modern times, Adlai Stevenson; on a great fighter -- on a great fighter for our needs as a Nation and a people, Stuart Symington; on my traveling companion in Wisconsin and West Virginia, Senator Hubert Humphrey; on Paul Butler, our devoted and courageous Chairman; and on that fighting campaigner whose support I now welcome, President Harry Truman.

I feel a lot safer with all of them on my side. And I'm proud of the contrast with our Republican competitors. For their ranks are so thin that not one challenger has dared to put his head up in the last twelve months.

I am fully aware of the fact that the Democratic Party, by nominating someone of my faith, has taken on what many regard as a new and hazardous risk -- new, at least since 1928. The Democratic Party has once again placed its confidence in the American people, and in their ability to render a free and fair judgment and in my ability to render a free and fair judgment.

To uphold the Constitution and my oath of office, to reject any kind of religious pressure or obligation that might directly or indirectly interfere with my conduct of the Presidency in the national interest. My record of fourteen years in supporting public education, supporting complete separation of Church and State and resisting pressure from sources of any kind should be clear by now to everyone.

I hope that no American -- I hope that no American, considering the really critical issues facing this country, will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me because of my religious affiliation. It is not relevant.

I am telling you what you are entitled to know: As I come before you seeking your support for the most powerful office in the free world -- I am saying to you that my decisions on every public policy will be my own, as an American, as a Democrat, and as a free man.

I mention all of this only because this country faces so many serious challenges, so many great opportunities, so many burdensome responsibilities that I hope that it is to those great matters that we can address ourselves in the coming months. And if this statement of mine makes it easier to concentrate on our Nation's problems, then I'm glad that I have made it.

Under any circumstances, the victory we seek in November will not be easy. We know that in our hearts. We know that our opponent will invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln on behalf of their candidate, despite the fact that his political career has often seemed to show charity towards none and malice for all.

We know it will not be easy to campaign against a man who has spoken and voted on every side of every issue. Mr. Nixon may feel that it's his turn now, after the New Deal and the Fair Deal -- but before he deals, someone's going to cut the cards.

That "someone" may be the millions of Americans who voted for President Eisenhower but would balk at his successor.

For just as historians tell us that Richard the First was not fit to fill the shoes of the bold Henry the Second, and that Richard Cromwell was not fit to wear the mantle of his uncle, they might add in future years that Richard Nixon did not measure up to the footsteps of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Perhaps he could carry on the party policies, the policies of Nixon and Benson and Dirksen and Goldwater. But this Nation cannot afford such a luxury. Perhaps we could afford a Coolidge following Harding. And perhaps we could afford a Pierce following Fillmore. But after Buchanan this nation needed Lincoln; after Taft we needed Wilson; and after Hoover we needed Franklin Roosevelt.

But we're not merely running against Mr. Nixon. Our task is not merely one of itemizing Republican failures. Nor is that wholly necessary. For the families forced from the farm do not need to tell us of their plight. The unemployed miners and textile workers know that the decision is before them in November. The old people without medical care, the families without a decent home, the parents of children without a decent school: They all know that it's time for a change.

We are not here to curse the darkness; we are here to light a candle. As Winston Churchill said on taking office some twenty years ago: If we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future.

Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do.

Abroad, the balance of power is shifting. New and more terrible weapons are coming into use.

One-third of the world may be free, but one-third is the victim of a cruel repression, and the other third is rocked by poverty and hunger and disease. Communist influence has penetrated into Asia; it stands in the Middle East; and now festers some ninety miles off the coast of Florida. Friends have slipped into neutrality and neutrals have slipped into hostility. As our keynoter reminded us, the President who began his career by going to Korea ends it by staying away from Japan.

The world has been close to war before, but now man, who's survived all previous threats to his existence, has taken into his mortal hands the power to exterminate his species seven times over.

Here at home the future is equally revolutionary. The New Deal and the Fair Deal were bold measures for their generations, but now this is a new generation.

A technological output and explosion on the farm has led to an output explosion. An urban population revolution has overcrowded our schools and cluttered our cities and crowded our slums.

A peaceful revolution for human rights, demanding an end to racial discrimination in all parts of our community life, has strained at the leashes imposed by a timid executive leadership.

It is time, in short -- It is time, in short, for a new generation of leadership. All over the world, particularly in the newer nations, young men are coming to power, men who are not bound by the traditions of the past, men who are not blinded by the old fears and hates and rivalries -- young men who can cast off the old slogans and the old delusions.

The Republican nominee, of course, is a young man. But his approach is as old as McKinley. His party is the party of the past, the party of memory. His speeches are generalities from Poor Richard's Almanac. Their platform -- Their platform, made up of old, left-over Democratic planks, has the courage of our old convictions. Their pledge is to the status quo; and today there is no status quo.

For I stand here tonight facing west on what was once the last frontier. From the lands that stretch three thousand miles behind us, the pioneers gave up their safety, their comfort and sometimes their lives to build our new West. They were not the captives of their own doubts, nor the prisoners of their own price tags. They were determined to make the new world strong and free -- an example to the world, to overcome its hazards and its hardships, to conquer the enemies that threatened from within and without.

Some would say that those struggles are all over, that all the horizons have been explored, that all the battles have been won, that there is no longer an American frontier. But I trust that no one in this assemblage would agree with that sentiment; for the problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won; and we stand today on the edge of a New Frontier -- the frontier of the 1960's, the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, the frontier of unfilled hopes and unfilled threats.

Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom promised our nation a new political and economic framework. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal promised security and succor to those in need. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises. It is a set of challenges.

It sums up not what I intend to offer to the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals to their pride -- It appeals to our pride, not our security. It holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security.

The New Frontier is here whether we seek it or not.

Beyond that frontier are uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered problems of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus. It would be easier to shrink from that new frontier, to look to the safe mediocrity of the past, to be lulled by good intentions and high rhetoric -- and those who prefer that course should not vote for me or the Democratic Party.

But I believe that the times require imagination and courage and perseverance. I'm asking each of you to be pioneers towards that New Frontier. My call is to the young in heart, regardless of age -- to the stout in spirit, regardless of Party, to all who respond to the scriptural call: "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be [thou] dismayed."

For courage , not complacency, is our need today; leadership, not salesmanship. And the only valid test of leadership is the ability to lead, and lead vigorously. A tired nation -- A tired nation, said David Lloyd George, is a Tory nation. And the United States today cannot afford to be either tired or Tory.

There may be those who wish to hear more -- more promises to this group or that, more harsh rhetoric about the men in the Kremlin as a substitute for policy, more assurances of a golden future, where taxes are always low and the subsidies are always high. But my promises are in the platform that you have adopted. Our ends will not be won by rhetoric, and we can have faith in the future only if we have faith in ourselves.

For the harsh facts of the matter are that we stand at this frontier at a turning-point of history. We must prove all over again to a watching world, as we said on a most conspicuous stage, whether this nation, conceived as it is with its freedom of choice, its breadth of opportunity, its range of alternatives, can compete with the single-minded advance of the Communist system.

Can a nation organized and governed such as ours endure?

That is the real question.

Have we the nerve and the will? Can we carry through in an age where we will witness not only new breakthroughs in weapons of destruction, but also a race for mastery of the sky and the rain, the ocean and the tides, the far side of space, and the inside of men's minds?

That is the question of the New Frontier.

That is the choice our nation must make -- a choice that lies not merely between two men or two parties, but between the public interest and private comfort, between national greatness and national decline, between the fresh air of progress and the stale, dank atmosphere of "normalcy," between dedication of mediocrity.

All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we shall do. And we cannot fail that trust. And we cannot fail to try.

It has been a long road from the first snowy day in New Hampshire many months ago to this crowded convention city. Now begins another long journey, taking me into your cities and homes across the United States.

Give me your help and your hand and your voice.

Recall with me the words of Isaiah that, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary."

As we face the coming great challenge, we too, shall wait upon the Lord, and ask that He renew our strength.

Then shall we be equal to the test.

Then we shall not be weary.

Then we shall prevail.

Thank you.


 JFK's Inaugural Address

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning—signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.
  The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
  We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. 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—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
  Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
  This much we pledge—and more.
  To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
  To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
  To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
  To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge—to convert our good words into good deeds—in a new alliance for progress—to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.
  To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support—to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective—to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak—and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.
  Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.
  We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.
  But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course—both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.
  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 and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms—and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.
  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.
  Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah—to "undo the heavy burdens ... and to let the oppressed go free."
  And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
  All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
  In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
  Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
  Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
  In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
  And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
  My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
  Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.


Senator Mike Mansfield's

Eulogy for John F. Kennedy

delivered 24 November 1963, 

Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

There was a sound of laughter; in a moment, it was no more. And so she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hands.

There was a wit in a man neither young nor old, but a wit full of an old man's wisdom and of a child's wisdom, and then, in a moment it was no more. And so she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hands.

There was a man marked with the scars of his love of country, a body active with the surge of a life far, far from spent and, in a moment, it was no more. And so she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hands.

There was a father with a little boy, a little girl and a joy of each in the other. In a moment it was no more, and so she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hands.

There was a husband who asked much and gave much, and out of the giving and the asking wove with a woman what could not be broken in life, and in a moment it was no more. And so she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hands, and kissed him and closed the lid of a coffin.

A piece of each of us died at that moment. Yet, in death he gave of himself to us. He gave us of a good heart from which the laughter came. He gave us of a profound wit, from which a great leadership emerged. He gave us of a kindness and a strength fused into a human courage to seek peace without fear.

He gave us of his love that we, too, in turn, might give. He gave that we might give of ourselves, that we might give to one another until there would be no room, no room at all, for the bigotry, the hatred, prejudice, and the arrogance which converged in that moment of horror to strike him down.

In leaving us -- these gifts, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States, leaves with us. Will we take them, Mr. President? Will we have, now, the sense and the responsibility and the courage to take them?

I pray to God that we shall and under God we will.



Adlai Stevenson's Eulogy of JFK,
 given on 26 November at the U.N.

Mr. President, my dear colleagues:

My privilege in this sad hour is to convey to you, Mr. President, to you, Mr. Secretary General, and to you, the assembled delegates of the world community, a profound gratitude of the people of my country for what has been done and for what has been said here today. Our grief is the more bearable because it is so widely and so genuinely shared. And for this we can only say, simply, but from the depths of our full hearts, thank you.

President Kennedy was so contemporary a man, so involved in our world, so immersed in our times, so responsive to its challenges, so intense a participant in the great events and the great decisions of our day, that he seemed the very symbol of the -- of the vitality and the exuberance that is the essence of life itself.

Never once did he lose his way in the maze. Never once did he falter in the storm of spears. Never once was he intimidated. Like the ancient Prophets, he loved the People enough to warn them of their errors; and the man who loves his country best will hold it to its highest standards.

He made us proud to be Americans.

And so it is that after four sorrowful days, we still can hardly grasp the macabre reality that the world has been robbed of this vibrant presence by an isolated act conceived in estranged recesses of the human mind.

We shall not soon forget the late President's striving ambition for his own country, his concept of a permanently dynamic society spreading abundance to the last corner of this land, and extending justice, tolerance, and dignity to all of its citizens alike.

For we shall not soon forget that as the leader of a great nation he met and mastered his responsibility to wield great power with great restraint. "Our national strength matters," he said just a few weeks ago, "but the spirit which informs and controls out strength matters just as much."

We shall not soon forget that he held fast to the vision of a world in which the peace is secure, in which inevitable conflicts are reconciled by pacific means in which nations devote their energies to the welfare of all of their citizens, and in which the vast and colorful diversity of human society can flourish in our restless, competitive search for a better society.

We shall not soon forget that by word and by deed he gave proof of profound confidence in the present value and the future promise of this great organization, the United Nations.

And we shall never forget these ambitions, these visions, these convictions that so inspired this remarkable young man and so quickened the quality and the tempo of our times in these fleeting past three years.

And our grief is compounded by the bitter irony that he who gave his all to contain violence lost is all to violence.

Now he's gone. Today we mourn him. Tomorrow and tomorrow we shall miss him. And so we shall never know how different the world might have been had fate permitted this blazing talent to live and labor longer at man's unfinished agenda for peace and progress for all.

Yet for the rest of us life goes on. Our agenda remains unfinished. Minutes after his spirit departed, Lyndon B. Johnson took his oath of allegiance to the permanent institutions of this country, institutions which outlast violence and outlive men. These hours of mourning are, then, but a pause in a process; not a break in purpose or in policy.

President Johnson has directed me to affirm to this Assembly that there will be no Johnson policy toward the United Nations any more than there was a Kennedy policy. There was and is only a United States policy, and that, too, outlasts violence and outlives men.

As long ago as 1948, President Johnson told an American audience that "our long- term and sustained foreign policy must include full support of the United Nations." And now on his behalf, and I repeat to you that my government will, as it has over the years, support every practical move to add to the capacity of the United Nations to keep the peace, and to aid new nations to reach the stage of self-sustaining growth.

The foreign policy of this government will continue to be, as to the troubling issues of today and tomorrow, to work for agreement where agreement is possible, and to negotiate with patience and persistence until agreement is possible. President Johnson is determined that the better feeling of these past few months shall not be lost; rather, that it must be increased. In that spirit, we shall not falter on the stony path to peace.

Finally let me say that John Kennedy never believed that he or any man was indispensable, as several speakers have reminded us here this afternoon. Of Dag Hammarskiold's death he said, "The problem is not the death of one; the problem is the life of this organization." But he did believe, passionately, that peace and justice are indispensable. And he believed, as he told this Assembly in 1951, that in the development of this organization lives the only true alternative to war.

So, my friends, we shall honor him in the best way that lies open to us, and the way that he would want it to be: by getting on with the everlasting search for peace and justice for which all mankind is praying.

Thank you.


 





Glynn Braman

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