I was 16 on Nov. 22, 1963, and reliving the events of that tragic day in Dallas was painful. Like many other Southerners of the time, I was not a big fan of John F. Kennedy, but as I grew older, I began to see JFK and his legacy differently. I think JFK and what he stood for helped to define who I am and what I believe. He inspired an entire generation to make a difference.
Now, after 50 years, I am saddened that many of the political divisions festering in America in 1963 still exist. Today, these divisive groups include the “tea party.”
I found a quote from Kennedy that rings just as true today: “If, by a ‘liberal,’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people – their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties – someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘liberal,’ then I am proud to say I’m a ‘liberal.’”
Gary L. Johnson