Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Warmth of the Sun

1963 would mark the zenith of American moral authority. In a series of six speeches in the months before his death, President John F. Kennedy embodied the belief that government power should be used primarily to protect the powerless; and should be used to increase communion in the world and lessen domination.

June 10th at American University, he calls for an end to the Cold War.

The next night (!), Kennedy announces his intention to help lead the Black Revolution instead of fighting it.

Robert Drew's brilliant Crisis explains the background.

Two weeks later in West Berlin, in Wagnerian Cold War mode.

"Light cuts into the darkness": the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, July 26, 1963.

Before the United Nations on September 20th, he calls for a world government in the interests of peace, a world center for conservation and food distribution, a world system of health bringing all peoples of the earth under medical protection, and an international manned space flight to the moon.

Kennedy often spoke about his dreams and hopes for a better America, and never so eloquently as his tribute to Robert Frost at Amherst College, October 26th, 1963.

In 1963, John F. Kennedy was both the glory, and the agony.