Before the day ends, I want to share with you an incredible and moving historic moment that took place 60 years ago today on June 10, 1963. President John F. Kennedy was asked to give the commencement address at American University in Washington, D.C. Happening just five months before his assassination, he bravely called for an end to war, the establishment of a permanent peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. He asked Americans not to hate or fear the Russian/Soviet people, that they were a people of virtue who had sacrificed over 20 million of their citizens to defeat Hitler, and that we should never forget that. “We share the same planet,” he pleaded. “We breathe the same air.” He went on to say that we must be at peace with each other. And the billions we spend on weapons of war should be spent on eliminating poverty, educating our children, creating a clean environment. And here at home there can be no peace if we live in a nation of inequality. I’m guessing some Americans clearly saw his thinking in a not so positive way, just three years after Eisenhower’s equally brave warning about our dangerous “industrial-military complex” that was built to increase profits for the few who built and sold weapons and continually pushed us into war.
How different our country/world would be if the insurrectionists fascists had not killed the Kennedy’s and Dr King. Yet, here we are, reminded again that democracy is an ongoing process that requires every generation to step up to preserve the rule of law, equity and justice with an fairly elected representatives.
We must expel the fascists from the House and Senate and take back the safety and peace we deserve, and the clean water and air for the health of our communities.
Thanks Mike for reminding us of President Kennedy’s words. We have been lead down the path of the fog of war for far too long.
Chief Seattle said: "All things share the same breath, the beast , the trees, the man. The air shares its spirit with all life it supports Thank you, Mike needed to hear John F. Kennedy today.
I was a child when JFK spoke these wonderful words. Never saw them before today, so thank you Michael for sharing them. We need thoughtful and intelligent leaders guiding our country and this just shows the stark gap between the day these words were delivered and the situation today. The clash of ideologies is a clear issue, but the quality of our “representatives” has also deteriorated so drastically that it is hard to see a way out of the current mess. I will be thinking about what I can do to change this. Thank you.
Thank you for this, especially, Michael, "What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables citizens and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
Thank you, Michael. It’s so rare to hear a sane voice.
On the other hand, I believe that with this speech, Kennedy condemned himself to death. 😕
Thank you, Michael. "World peace, like community peace, does not require that each person love their neighbor — it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement." "let each nation secure its own future, so long as that choice does not interfere with the choices of others" "The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war" I do remember this speech. These three quotes are my takeaways. We will not accomplish world peace, or even peace in the United States, so long as we allow the weapons manufacturing industry to control our government. They (the weapons industry) learned first to use the NRA as their propaganda outlet, distorting the Second Amendment so as to completely alter its meaning. Then to offer the military nut cases; and I am not including ALL the military, most of the military, or most of its leaders. But among the military are wingnuts like Flynn and Petreaus, who when offered new toys can hardly wait to try them out, like little boys at Christmas. But these toys are dangerous, kill people and destroy ancient, irreplaceable artifacts such as were lost in Iraq, as well as modern cities. Some will argue that a lot of new useful household products have come from these military toys, but my answer is always the same, we would have found Teflon anyway, it might just have taken a few years longer. Finally, through their lobbyists they bought outright, politicians in both parties so we never achieved control of even street weapons let alone military. The only way forward is to rid ourselves of every member of the Legislative Branch who has ever accepted so much as a nickle from the weapons manufacturing lobby.
The second quote applies to America today. We must make what effort we can to seduce those so enthralled by the utopian dictatorship offered by the DeSantis/Trump cult; to see the downside of authoritarianism. And we don't have much time to accomplish this. Most of that cult do not have clear and prescient memories of World War 2 as those of us in our very late 80's and 90's do. DeSantis and Trump are both lost causes, the best we can hope for are early death or long imprisonment.
The final quote is just ironic. A mere 60 years after Kennedy's speech we did start a war. A devastating attack on a sovereign nation that had done nothing to provoke that war. (I do not consider Sadaam Hussein insulting George W's daddy to be a justified cause for war). We destroyed 3500 year old artifacts for no better reason than Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted to control the Iraqi oil. Another irony, the oil fields were destroyed by explosions and fire
Thank you, Michael. I’ve missed your voice these last few days. Hoping all is well in your neck of the woods. Peace and love.
Last month we were visiting family in northern Colorado, and there was so much smoke in the air that the high mountains were completely obscured by smoke from fires in Canada. When we returned home to North Carolina, we arrived just as the same smoke from Canada was obscuring the Appalachians. It was never more obvious to me that we literally share the same air as everyone on the planet.
Dear Mike, I have committed my 80 years on earth to working for peace. Thank you for publishing President Kennedy's commencement address, previously unseen by me, We carry on. Bless you all.
I agree with so many of your readers and writers. And the commencement speech from Jack Kennedy was a reminder that we have had peace mongers within presidents. Please send this to President Biden and remind him that there are many of us out here who agree with President Kennedy andthink that peace is possible, that war and weapons are not a good solution to conflicts, that we are all human and would rather live in a peaceful world where voting rights are available to all citizens and that their votes do count. Someone said in today's paper that not voting should be considered at least as shameful as littering on the streets; my nephew says it should be as easy as turning 18 years of age.
Thank you again for another thoughtfully peaceful message.
Dear Michael, thank you once again for bringing forth hope for humanity when it seems there is none. ❤️
What a courageous, rational speach! Opposing interests took note and plotted in earnest JFK's elimination. We now have anything but peace at home or in the world. Thank you, Michael, for bringing this to us.
JFK was the last true American Statesman. His "American Camelot" was a beautiful dream. Too bad for the World that it, and he, was cut short before it was achieved. Hate prevailed the day he was assasinated, and it has dogged us ever since. Same for MLK, he Had a Dream, also, that the Haters ended.
Thank you for reminding us Michael. It's an important reminder of who we once were.
It is as if the right wing republican party starting with Nixon decided to turn Russia and China into capitalist autocratic Nations, while destroying the environment and speeding up the arms race and causing more poverty and starvation. While bankrupting and looting America's middle class. "Tear down the wall" and "free trade" were their weapons of choice. We can't forget the trickle down theory that Trump recently used. People with under a 135 IQ and who believe in the supernatural, should not be allowed to vote in the natural world.
Oh, Michael, Michael, Michael. Reading this is so teeth-gnashing and heart-breaking. JFK, like Obama, were terrific, inspiring orators. And it is not true that they did nothing. And for sure they were far better that the alternatives or their successors. But they were ever-so-heartbreaking. They delivered so little of what they promised. They talked like they really knew the score, and maybe they did... but they could have gone so much further. Still, wonderful to hear from you.