A Memorable JFK Quote Seems To Be Forgotten By Our Modern Society

Jerome Danner Member, Project 21 Black Leadership Network National Advisory Council
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Currently, it would seem that when listening to any political discourse to any problem, the constant and persistent solution(s) offered seem to involve demanding the government to fix it.  If there is any problem going on with any major issue, more and more American citizens yell for their preferred Republican or Democrat to do something about it.  This kind of thinking typically demands that some law should be created to impact change in communities across the country, all the while forgoing the idea that communities can make changes themselves.

Town hall meetings can take place anywhere, but practical solutions and ways of implementation must be provided for citizens to move forward.  Otherwise, it can be an event, where civil discourse and rational thinking is abandoned for emotional yelling and echo chamber-type applause.  The Town Hall on gun policy in America presented by CNN was an example of this kind of meeting.  Nothing was really solved nor was anything accomplished in this heated meeting of the minds.  One side might have left having their views vindicated, nevertheless, there was a major disconnect between those individuals in support of the Second Amendment and those against it after the Parkland school shooting.

This special event revealed that we – as constituents of those politicians that are supposedly there to represent us – are relying too heavily on them to solve every issue we face in our daily live.  We should reminisce about a previous politician who called for Americans in his day to be actively involved citizens during his inaugural address as President of the United States.

President John F. Kennedy is known for many things, but he has a memorable quote from years ago that would do the modern-day American citizen good to hold on to in our present age.  On January 20, 1961, Kennedy famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!”  Although he was taking on a major role as the leader of our country, he projected out on every American a responsibility to deliberately engage with the well-being of the nation.  It was a reminder that they too can make a difference in their country, even if it was at a smaller level.

Therefore, why can this kind of responsibility not be on us today?  Instead of bickering over the gun debate, if there is a possible solution or alternative, then why not ask family and friends what can be done in our communities to make a difference?  We give more power to a centralized government when we continuously return to them with problems that we could possibly solve on our own.

Maybe we can update Kennedy’s proverb and say: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your community.”  A proverb worth saying and living by, if taken at all seriously.


Jerome Danner is a member of Project 21, an initiative of The National Center for Public Policy Research.  Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for more of his thoughts and commentary.  For more of Jerome’s writing, please check out his website.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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Jerome Danner