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"Ask not..." JFK, 1/20/1961

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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 09:35 PM
Original message
"Ask not..." JFK, 1/20/1961
from

John F. Kennedy
Inaugural Address
Friday, January 20, 1961

-----------------------------

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 freedomand 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 requirednot 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 pledgeto convert our good words into good deedsin a new alliance for progressto 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 supportto prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invectiveto strengthen its shield of the new and the weakand 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.

-------------------------

So let us begin anewremembering 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.

-------------------------

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for youask 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.

http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html

:kick:
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. JFK.
An extreme American. Like MLK and FDR.

:kick:

MKJ
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. That speech was my first independent awareness of national politics.
Edited on Mon Oct-08-07 10:08 PM by pinto
I had sat around the kitchen table hearing about FDR, Ike and LBJ (as a Congressman, - my dad was a Texan, and LBJ was and is revered in the hill country). The discussion was always lively, divided at times and sincere.

Yet, listening to the inaugural was a reality check for me. In real time, my time, the federal government made a difference, was part of the give and take of the world and had a clear place in it all.
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dailykoff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. Hell of a speech.
And it looks like it was ten below zero when he delivered it, from the way everybody on the platform looks half-frozen. Ike looks like he's scared to death. What the hell did they do to that poor guy?
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Xenotime Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
4. It's too bad this country doesn't think that way anymore...
There might be a stronger progressive movement.
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jeff30997 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. Well,46 years lather...
Your country is asking very weird things for you to do.
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. You miss the point, I think.
"ask what you can do for your country".

JFK made a specific challenge to individuals to be a part of the agenda, as much as was possible in those days. His "ask not' statement was an invitation to be involved - not a format for the government asking you to do something.

I see your point, though. The concept has gotten twisted.

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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. Are you saying Gore has a duty to run for President?
Edited on Mon Oct-08-07 10:21 PM by BullGooseLoony
I was reminded of this speech reading The Assault on Reason. Given the picture painted by that book, that phrase took on a whole new meaning for me.
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. No. imho, he has a duty to be part of the mix, whatever that means for him.
JFK championed the Peace Corps as a means of service. Politics isn't - or ought not be - the end all of contributions to our country or the world.
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
9. K, R'd once,
:kick: MKJ
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