By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders
This week marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. President for less than three years, Kennedy still fascinates and inspires us even after more than fifty years since his assassination in Dallas.
Born into a family of wealth and privilege, nonetheless John Kennedy was instructed that “to those who much is given, much is expected” and that public service was a high calling.
What is it about the JFK legacy that still kindles a flame within us?
I suspect that part of it was the manner in which he left us so young with so much unfulfilled promise. I also suspect that part of the Kennedy mystique is attributed to the turbulent years that were the 1960s. It was a time of hope and change and also triumph and tragedy.
Kennedy embodied all of that.
By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
Okay, before we all get high and mighty about Donald Trump’s erratic and unpredictable behavior, let’s admit there is a little bit of Trump in all of us.
Have you ever lost an argument on the facts and refused to admit it? Have you ever tried to prop yourself up with assumptions of greatness based on vanity? Have you ever been caught in a lie and refused to acknowledge it? Have you ever thrown a temper tantrum or have been needlessly nasty with some person? I plead guilty to all of the above. How about you?
The difference is that the president of the United States does not have the luxury of such shallowness and self-absorption, and certainly not on an ongoing basis. The consequences can be terrifying. It is immature, but more to the point such mercurial unsteadiness is dangerous.
With age and experience comes some degree of wisdom, introspection and hopefully compassion. Adolescent children and especially teenagers can be mean spirited, cruel and impulsive. But most outgrow such juvenile traits over time and evolve into better selves from a life of successes and disappointments.