The other day I was watching Fox News Sunday and saw Chris Wallace interviewing Kathleen Kennedy (Bobby’s oldest child) and Patrick Kennedy (Teddy’s younger son). They both were so inspiring and positive it really made me wonder what has happened to this Country. Kathleen said her Father wrote her a note on the day JFK was buried telling her she was the oldest Kennedy grandchild and that she should carry on the family message of doing work to help people. Bobby wasn’t filled with anger, hate and revenge on the day his older brother, who had been gunned down and killed in broad day light, was to be buried. He wanted to make sure their message of helping others stayed alive. Patrick Kennedy, who wasn’t born until 1967, 4 or so years after the assassination, talked about his Father Teddy Kennedy and his endless fight for helping those in need, giving universal healthcare. Teddy always struck me as a type of hero. Not because I agreed with everything he did, or paid attention to all of his bills, or getting away with Chappaquiddick, but because here was a man probably worth over a billion dollars and he spent his life trying to make things better for the average person.
Of course it was Jack Kennedy who asked to Country to pitch in and help out. He created the Peace Corps, inspired a generation to want to work in government for their country, pursued Civil Rights for African Americans. The Kennedy message was give back to society. How on earth did we go from a true member of the 1% with that message to a has been actor whose “Trickle Down Economics” (or as George Bush called it at the time “Voodoo Economics”)? The change in the Country and the Country’s leader could not have been more different. As a society back in the 60s people helping others was the goal. That was the message from a president who also, in today’s dollars, was probably a billionaire but his goal was to get the Country to work together, help the needy. Fast forward to 9/11; George Bush didn’t ask the Country for anything; he started the first wars in our Country’s history that did not have a war tax to pay for the wars. Now maybe that’s not a fair comparison because 9/11 was something we had never seen before, vulnerability on U.S. soil. Perhaps Mr. Bush thought having people get back to their everyday lives “going shopping” was his way of saying everything would be ok.
I wasn’t born when JFK was gunned down so I can’t say which was more impactful, his assassination or 9/11. What I can say is that the message of the Kennedy family was to help others. Give back. They were living proof of that. What was Ronal Reagan’s message? Greed is Good. We have had so many years since JFK that it’s virtually impossible for someone like President Obama to talk about giving back, helping others and our Country.
Now should be a time to look at the Kennedy family, follow their lead from the 1960s and extend a hand to those that need it. Change the culture from “give me” to “let me help you”. I am sure everyone knows the way the Kennedy family earned its money was dubious to put it nicely, we also know many of them have been reckless, ignored the law, gotten away with things no other family could get away with. But think of the good most of them have done. Teddy spending his life working for healthcare, helping the needy. Our billionaires of today, the Koch Brothers or Donald Trump, they have disgusting messages of greed, profit, and literally starving the poor.
We need another leader like John F. Kennedy.