Monday, October 4, 2010

The President America Needed: John F. Kennedy

Figure 1 "John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address." Photograph. 20 Jan. 1961. American Rhetoric Web. 4 Oct. 2010.

As the 1960’s dawned on us, the world was in the middle of a revolution. Kennedy Had just won the presidential election of 1961 after campaigning against Richard Nixon. America was a scene of chaos ranging from the brink of war with Cuba to the first televised presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon to youths in revolt. At this time, more than ever, America needed a leader who could reassure them that they could overcome the disarray, not only with words but also actions. As Kennedy gave his inaugural speech as seen in figure 1, he proved not only to U.S. citizens but also the world that he could be the president they all needed. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a passionate, devoted, and faithful political figure who remains a highly respected president in the minds of many Americans to this day.

As Kennedy passionately began his inaugural speech, he stated that “man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life” inferring that we could either help one another, or destroy one another. This gave Americans the confidence to believe that they had the power to do anything and more imperatively win any war—including a war against Cuba. Kennedy embedded peoples’ faith when he spoke because he was so prominent in his faith in his audience. He addressed the racial segregation that the United States was facing at that point in time; John F. Kennedy went so far as to say that their generation is “unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed”.

As Kennedy begins his eighth paragraph of his inaugural speech, he also shows his devotion to helping those in need, be it in America or overseas. He declared that “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…because it is right” (Kennedy). This is a commendable example of his devotion to not only those in need in his homeland, but also those who suffer elsewhere. He was faithful that mankind would help others and endorsed the idea when he stated that “if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich” (Kennedy), hoping to motivate those who opposed his ideas.

Near the end of his memorable inaugural speech, John F. Kennedy again proved his passion. Kennedy acknowledges those that were in opposition to him as he stated that “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”. His dedication was only confirmed when he said “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” (Kennedy). John Fitzgerald Kennedy proved himself worthy of Americans’ faith, devotion, and hope that they bestowed upon him, as he was an ideal president not only for the 1961-1965 presidential term; he was an exemplary illustration as to which characteristics a president should possess.

Works Cited:
Figure 1 "John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address." Photograph. 20 Jan. 1961. American Rhetoric. Web. 4 Oct. 2010.
Kennedy, John Fitzgerald. "John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address."
. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. .

Works Consulted:
"An Overview of the Crisis." Think Quest. N.p., 1997. Web. 4 Oct. 2010.