The Thought for the Day – John F Kennedy

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. – John F Kennedy

Today’s Thought might be the most famous quote from a presidential inaugural, a speech that has produced its share of memorable quotes over the centuries. JFK has been quoted in this feature so the usual introductory paragraph isn’t required, but we will note Kennedy was an indifferent student and was not the most accomplished United States Senator ever. But he found a home in the presidency, serving his country well in the Cuban Missile Crisis and he commanded and marshaled our resources to produce the Apollo program, the only time man has visited the moon.

Ask not what your country can do for you…

We should really demand very little of our government. We’ve always thought government’s only legitimate function was to make sure the 24 hours each of has every day is ours to with what we want, to give us the chance to go out and make something good happen for ourselves.

…ask what you can do for your country.

The very best thing we can do for our country right now is simply to pay attention. Pay attention to what our government is doing and the effects it has on us as a country and the effects our policies have on our planet. Pay attention to both short-term outcomes and our long-term prospects. Is America on a collision with peace and prosperity, or might we be tossed aside the scrap heap of history at some future point?

Opinions on these points vary and it is beyond the scope of this feature to persuade you one way or the other. It is, however, the purpose of this feature to get you to think about them. As concerned and conscientious citizens, we must be able to answer these questions for ourselves.

More than anything, what each of us can do for our country is to become informed, demanding and participating citizens, citizens who hold their leaders accountable for what they are doing. When we do that, we will have a country we can be proud of.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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