Saturday, June 30, 2007

If only

Those who judge John Kennedy by the 40+ year smear campaign against him need to read this speech. The Washington Monthly asked Ted Sorenson, Kennedy's longtime speechwriter, to write a speech he'd like the winner of the Democratic nomination to give at the nominating convention in 2008. He wrote this speech, which I'd encourage you to read in full. I'm in full agreement with everything expressed, and long for a candidate brave enough to pledge to do all these things. I have no favorite among the candidates yet. Not one of them has inspired me to lift a finger to help. But if Sorenson was to run, I'd do everything I could, because this is indeed what our next president should promise:
First, working with a representative Iraqi parliament, I shall set a timetable for an orderly, systematic redeployment and withdrawal of all our troops in Iraq, including the recall of all members of the National Guard to their primary responsibility of guarding our nation and its individual states.

Second, this redeployment shall be only the first step in a comprehensive regional economic and diplomatic stabilization plan for the entire Middle East, building a just and enduring peace between Israel and Palestine, halting the killing and maiming of innocent civilians on both sides, and establishing two independent sovereign states, each behind peacefully negotiated and mutually recognized borders.

Third, I shall as soon as possible transfer all inmates out of the Guantanamo Bay prison and close down that hideous symbol of injustice.

Fourth, I shall fly to New York City to pledge in person to the United Nations, in the September 2009 General Assembly, that the United States is returning to its role as a leader in international law, as a supporter of international tribunals, and as a full-fledged member of the United Nations which will pay its dues in full, on time, and without conditions, renouncing any American empire; that we shall work more intensively with other countries to eliminate global scourges, including AIDS, malaria, and other contagious diseases, massive refugee flows, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and that we will support the early dispatch of United Nations peacekeepers to halt the atrocities in Darfur. I shall make it clear that we do not covet the land of other countries for our military bases or the control of their natural resources for our factories. I shall make it clear that our country is not bound by any policies or pronouncements of my predecessor that violate international law or threaten international peace.

Fifth, I shall personally sign the Kyoto Protocol, and seek its ratification by the United States Senate, in order to stop global warming before it endangers all species on earth, including our own; and I shall call upon the Congress to take action dramatically reducing our nation’s reliance on the carbon fuels that are steadily contributing to the degradation of our environment.

Sixth, I shall demonstrate sufficient confidence in the strength of our values and the wisdom and skill of our diplomats to favor communications, negotiations, and full relations with every country on earth, including Cuba, North Korea, Palestine, and Iran.

Finally, I shall restore the constitutional right of habeas corpus, abolish the unconstitutional tapping of private phones, and once again show the world the traditional American values that distinguish us from those who attacked us on 9/11.
If only. If only we could see this kind of leader in the White House. These days, such a leader seems not to exist. Will one of the Democratic candidates please step up and prove me wrong?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most depressing thing about looking back at our great and brave presidents is the fear that there just isn't someone like that out there today. But we must keep looking. And let's hope that somebody on the democratic side steps up and shows us some courage, grit and hope.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

could it be.....Ron Paul?

1:43 PM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Well, I sure admire Ron Paul for his courage in speaking out against the establishment. He's kind of the Dennis Kucinich of the right, as I see it. But I'm not in agreement with his overall politics, which are decidedly conservative, which to me means counter to the interests of the middle class. But kudos to him for calling us out publicly on our abhorrent foreign policies.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, there are a few nits I could pick here and there, but what strikes me most is that either the years of abuse our better side has absorbed have blunted Ted's ability to translate his soaring ideals into that inspiring poetry that characterized "his" speeches during JFK's Presidency, or more of that poetry came from John Kennedy than I have previously been led to believe.

It was a nice speech, but it could have been more powerful. I might take a crack at it later, if I get a chance...

2:48 PM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

If you think of June 5, 1968 as the day the music died, I think it makes sense that some of the poetry has gone from Sorenson's writing.

I'd be curious to hear more of your thoughts, Dave. Lay 'em out!

2:53 PM  

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