Tuesday, November 22, 2011

48 years ago today: what JFK might say

How appropriate that on this day the Republicans plan to hold another debate, and move one step closer to deciding upon who will run against President Obama in November, 2012.

The subject of tonight's debate is national security. What irony in that today marks 48 years since the assassination, in Dallas, of President John F. Kennedy.

When juxtaposing the image of a candidate from the Republican Party leaving it up to a general in Pakistan to decide whether or not to bolster our military presence in Pakistan, or Iran, one can't help but recall the image of Jack Kennedy with then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. As you recall, Kennedy was an avid reader, often reading as many as three newspapers a day, so his response to Mr. Cain might be only that he was a reader and a leader.

Godfather's Pizza mogul Herman Cain has been deposed in the polls by Newt Gingrich, remember him, from the 1990's, who now compares himself to the Mel Gibson character in the movie, "Braveheart." For those, like myself, who missed the Gibson movie, don't worry, if you've seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's" that's all you need to know about Mr. Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, family values, Contract with America fellow who recently eclipsed the absurdity of Cain's statement by calling child labor laws "stupid."

If you want to know what poses the gravest threat to national security, just try and wrap your head around why so many people, young and old, are showing up for the Occupy movement. Just ask yourself why so many youngsters are pitching tents on college campuses, and subjecting themselves to the kind of brutality we haven't seen since the shootings at Kent State.

To borrow a phrase from Paddy Chayefsky, people are "mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore." We don't believe that national security can be separated from economic justice. We don't believe that amassing behemoth fortunes will lead to job creation. We didn't believe it when Ronald Reagan said it, and we don't believe it now.

Or, as JFK, a visionary president, said half a century ago, "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." His vision lives on in the hearts and minds of all who support those who speak up for the economic justice for which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King strove, and without which there can be no national security.

For there can be no graver threat to national, or international, security than a weak economy, and there can be no recovery when the few feast off the sacrifices of the many.