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Remembering Kennedy and Lincoln

Published: Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The best policy for government officials is transparency in every aspect of their work. If we’re good on the inside, we’re good on the outside and people know it. If not, people know that as well. So while it seems counter-intuitive, government needs to live in a fish bowl subject to intense scrutiny from anyone who has the time and patience to notice what’s going on. Why not? It’s our government. We, the People. 
This is a painful time for we who remember Jack Kennedy gone these 50 years. How is it possible?  Lincoln was killed just a handful of years before that, less than a 100 years before to be exact. And we lost another unremarkable President in between. Such a brutal start to our otherwise benevolent national aspirations. The difference between us and Rome is we aren’t trying to conquer the world and force everyone to live our way. Ours is not a jihad or holy war to make the American Way the universal way. It seems like it to people who don’t know us, or leaders in other countries who would like to rule absolutely, but, at bottom, we don’t like the wrong kind of government, which is any government that intrudes unnecessarily in our lives or steps on the lives of other people who are not free as we are free.
Lincoln intruded in our lives. He stood at Gettysburg on a November day not so long ago and, in 272 immortal words, explained to all of us why we were at war with each other, what it all meant, and why we had to do it.  Best speech ever given by an American President in our history. Best speech ever made to a whole people by one leader. Best speech ever given, period.  Name another. Oh, the Second inaugural is a close second. Both are the foundations of our lives and sacred honor. When people ask me who we are, I refer them to those speeches because that’s who we are, who we’d like to be, who we aspire to be.
The reason we remember Jack Kennedy is because he followed Lincoln on the same road.  Someone asked Jack how he got to be a war hero.  

The best policy for government officials is transparency in every aspect of their work. If we’re good on the inside, we’re good on the outside and people know it. If not, people know that as well. So while it seems counter-intuitive, government needs to live in a fish bowl subject to intense scrutiny from anyone who has the time and patience to notice what’s going on. Why not? It’s our government. We, the People. 

This is a painful time for we who remember Jack Kennedy gone these 50 years. How is it possible?  Lincoln was killed just a handful of years before that, less than a 100 years before to be exact. And we lost another unremarkable President in between. Such a brutal start to our otherwise benevolent national aspirations. The difference between us and Rome is we aren’t trying to conquer the world and force everyone to live our way. Ours is not a jihad or holy war to make the American Way the universal way. It seems like it to people who don’t know us, or leaders in other countries who would like to rule absolutely, but, at bottom, we don’t like the wrong kind of government, which is any government that intrudes unnecessarily in our lives or steps on the lives of other people who are not free as we are free.

Lincoln intruded in our lives. He stood at Gettysburg on a November day not so long ago and, in 272 immortal words, explained to all of us why we were at war with each other, what it all meant, and why we had to do it.  Best speech ever given by an American President in our history. Best speech ever made to a whole people by one leader. Best speech ever given, period.  Name another. Oh, the Second inaugural is a close second. Both are the foundations of our lives and sacred honor. When people ask me who we are, I refer them to those speeches because that’s who we are, who we’d like to be, who we aspire to be.

The reason we remember Jack Kennedy is because he followed Lincoln on the same road.  Someone asked Jack how he got to be a war hero.  

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