Thursday, December 06, 2007

How Kennedy Said It

In 1960. For comparison to this from this morning.

I much prefer the Kennedy speech. An old Kennedy hand has his finger on the reason for that:

Q. Romney discussed his views of Jesus Christ, something that Kennedy avoided. Why did Kennedy avoid discussing his religious views?

Sorensen: Because [Kennedy] began the speech by saying his private religious beliefs -- his relationship with God or Jesus Christ or anything else -- was not a matter of public discussion. He did not think the election should be based on -- as he said, it's not what kind of church I believe in, the question is what kind of country do I believe in.

Amen to that.

Romney seemed interested in aligning his personal religion -- an erratic at best in the Judeo-Christian tradition -- with the galvanized and fearful segment of the fundamentalist and right-polarized Christian churches. Rather than aligning it with the broad and historical American mainstream of faith and observance. Of course, part of the fantasy of that disgruntled religious faction is that they are the historical American religious mainstream.

I still wish Romney would be allowed to have six First Ladies, though.

One thing you note right away in reading JFK's speech is how he opens it by defining the real issues (as opposed to religious belief) of the election. It is pretty much a run-through of his platform, but look how differently a Democrat ran in 1960 than today.

While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that we have far more critical issues to face in the 1960 election; the spread of Communist influence, until it now festers 90 miles off the coast of Florida--the humiliating treatment of our President and Vice President by those who no longer respect our power--the hungry children I saw in West Virginia, the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills, the families forced to give up their farms--an America with too many slums, with too few schools, and too late to the moon and outer space.

These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues--for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.

Where's the candidate who will even talk like that today? Change a few of the proper nouns and you could cobble a comparable platform in 2007. And probably get a lot of support if you meant it and had some real ideas. Anyone? Anyone? Hell, I'll even look at Romney if he'd do it.