I show you this video to ask simply: Where? Where has our America gone? With what vain, silent whimper has the hope; the drive; the future promised by so many past generations died?
I'm not talking about the jet packs and weekend trips to the Moon. No, citizens. I'm thinking of the end of tyranny the world over; the liberation of oppressed peoples domestically and abroad; the commitment to firm, lasting peace. But, this is not news.You know it. Perhaps, you don't think of it but you feel it. Flip through your news channels. Do you see the manifestation of this promise, this pledge, this dream? No, of course not. No, you see celebrity gossip, talking heads shouting nonsense, viral advertising but nothing of the great dream that is America.
I'm far too young to remember JFK's speech or even the immediate impact of his brief presidency. However, as one of the last generations of the 20th Century, I know what we were to inherit. Apathy, crippling poverty, political stalemate, corporate despotism are not the ends to which JFK vowed his generation's energies and aspirations. Peace, prosperity, security, and liberty were what he and his generation envisioned for us.
In that 13 minutes and 43 seconds John F. Kennedy summarizes the ever-optimistic exercise that is our great republic. He calls to arms every man and woman of this nation to unite in the common goals of our brothers and sisters abroad. He knew that this country could accomplish anything if united but absolutely nothing if divided. He recognized, as Lincoln did a century prior, that to focus on our differences (be they political, racial, or otherwise) was to prescribe our failure; our defeat.
Politicians too concerned with constituencies, campaign financing, and "party lines" to fight for the noble ideal of America. A citizenry too easily distracted with Reality TV, tax breaks, and vague double-speak nonsense (like "patriot" and "real Americans") has become complaisant and disinterested in this "America". We are our greatest enemy, ladies and gentlemen! More gravely threatening to our nation than "socialism" or even "terrorism" is our own inaction; our thoughtless acceptance of what is as immutable.
Please don't mistake my passion. I'm not some extremist nut job; shut away in some remote forest, amassing an arsenal and worried about the "International Communist Conspiracy" (as far as you can prove). I'm just another citizen; another American. A liberal-minded "centrist", W.A.S.P., and under 30 for you poll-takers in the audience. Perhaps too young or too idealistic to have given up what I believe our fore-bearers envisioned for us but believing eternally that the destiny of mankind is peace, tolerance, and cooperation.
But don't despair, citizens. It can be done! It can be ours! I know it seems huge, perhaps insurmountable. You're right: it is a massive undertaking. But remember: those brave, discontented individuals who drafted the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution did have the ability (or even any idea quite how) to deliver all those documents promised to the generations that followed yet here we stand.
I'm not sure where your politics lie but I can assure you we will accomplish nothing divided; perfectly nothing. To allow our petty disagreements distract us from delivering on the liberty, peace, prosperity, and security which is the birthright of every American citizen (and citizen of the world!) regardless of faith, race, nation of origin, or gender. To, instead of being concerned with our differences, be concerned with how we can best overcome them for our common benefit. We must those we elect to these goals and, indeed, ourselves.