Nearly 50 years ago on a cold January day in 1961, John F. Kennedy challenged Americans in his inaugural address to “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
Yet today, many wish to “change” the focus of Kennedy’s hopes for our country and ask not what they can give, but only what they can take. They see the United States not as a land of opportunity, but as a land of entitlement.
John F. Kennedy continued on in his speech and also asked that we “…pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship… in order to assure the survival and success of liberty.”
But many today seek not the success of liberty, they seek only to take liberally of others’ success. They have lost their sense of self-sufficiency and responsibility, and believe that others should provide for them. They believe others should be taxed and that money redistributed so they may profit from that which they have not earned, that health care is a right that others should provide for them, that someone should bail them out when they buy houses they cannot afford.
They believe government exists to take care of their every need and desire. They wish to “change” this land of opportunity into a land of handouts — to change the responsibility of service to one’s country into the country’s requirement to serving them.
Is this the “change” we need? No, the change we need is to once again accept personal responsibility for our success or failure and to refute the belief that someone owes us something. The change we need is the willingness to again bear our own burdens, not to expect others to bear our burdens for us.
The change we need is to begin again to ask what we can give, not what we can take. Kennedy started his speech with the words, “… fellow citizens, we observe today… a cerebration of freedom — symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well as change.”
Isn’t it ironic the vast difference between the “change” some officials speak of today compared to the “change” a past Democratic party hero, John F. Kennedy, spoke of?