“…the message…had been that the American way of life was in terrible shape, that our economy was slowing down, that we were neglectful of our young and our old, callous toward our poor and our minorities, that our cities and schools and landscapes were a mess, that our motives were materialistic and ignoble and that we were fast becoming a country without a purpose and without ideals.”
These words were written in 1965 about the way our 35th President saw our country during his campaign for the presidency in 1960. If you don’t believe me, read Art Schlesinger’s book titled A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, for which he received a Pulitzer Prize in Biography. You’ll find that written on page 726 of the Houghton, Mifflin Company edition printed in 1965.
As a matter of fact, John Kennedy wrote in 1946 in his journal he kept at the time, “I am pessimistic about the future of this country.” And to think we’d just won World War II.
Now I ask you–what has changed? In sixty-two years, what has changed in this country? The words from 1965 could have been written yesterday, and the words from 1946 could very well have been written this morning.
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.