Nearly fifty years ago our country a man named John F. Kennedy energized the American public and brought forth the dream that we could do anything. He managed to bring voters from both parties into his vision and temporarily allowed our country the ability to say anything was possible. People look back fondly today at that time period and say it was a golden period of American history. A period where one felt good to be an American and was proud to serve for their country.
We had just exited one, troubling war in the Koreas and were looking forward to a possibility of war with not just Cuba and Russia but also Vietnam. The prior two decades of war had left our country in a state of turmoil and with a loss of hope. The average man on the street believed that this was all we could look forward to. That the world was crumbling around them and that there was little they could do.
John F. Kennedy came into the public spotlight and made people feel good about themselves and their country. He exuded confidence and a contentment that often showed through his smiles that were captured for all to see on television. To the common man he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Encouraging them to believe in themselves and bring about change in their communities.
But that dream was to be short lived. For on November 22, 1963 he was assassinated in a way that would be seared into the conscious of everyone and remembered with great sadness even today.
Many things have occurred since Kennedy’s time. Our country has been through several Presidents and several more wars. We have seen the partial collapse of our economy a few times and the resurgence of it. We have seen terrorism on our homeland. Our people now live in fear. A fear of what could happen to them if we are attacked again and of what will happen if the economy and the war continue on their paths. Many have lost hope. Believing no longer that they can do anything. That their country is something to be proud of. That they can make a difference. An all encompassing apathy has struck to the heart of the American soul and tainted the very fabric of who we are.
Who are we exactly? Have we forgotten all that great pioneers like George Washington, Buzz Aldrin, Mark Twain and many others have forged? Our creativeness and our very being is at stake and yet… we do nothing. We go about our daily lives acting as if there is nothing that can be done.
Despite the dreary and murky fog of despair a new light begins to shine through. A voice can be heard calling out of the din of sighs and human pain. What is that voice? And why does it sound so familiar?
A new figure emerges into the national conscience with the aura of John F. Kennedy about it. A man with a wide smile, bolstering confidence and one simple statement: “Yes, we can.”
How is it that a single sentence can stir the slumbering beast of America into a new era of hope and excitement? The answer to that lies in what we have forgotten. That we need a strong figurehead who can help push us toward a new era of enlightenment, strength, courage and the willingness to do what it takes to make it happen. A growing knowledge that by working together and by pushing ourselves we can make this country great again. That we have something to be proud of. If only we would accept that one simple sentence.
Who is it that so exults the beauty of the American spirit and calls on us to embrace what we can be? Barack H. Obama is that man. He does not ask us to sacrifice. He does not ask us to surrender what we are. He only asks us to believe in ourselves and to help form a new golden age.