Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (19).

Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

JFK: “I do not say that all are equal in their ability, their character or their motivation…but I say they should be equal in their chance to develop their character, their motivation and their ability.” p. 530. ………. “ ‘Simple justice requires this program,’ he would tell the Congress in concluding his Civil Rights message of June 19, 1963, ‘not merely for reasons of economic efficiency, world diplomacy and domestic tranquility—but, above all, because it is right.’ ” p. 531. ………. JFK: “Any educated citizen who seeks to subvert the law, to suppress freedom, or to subject other human beings to acts that are less than human, degrades his heritage, ignores his learning and betrays his obligations.” p. 553. ………. JFK: “…legislation cannot solve this problem [of racism] alone…must be solved in the homes of every American.” p. 556.

JFK: “But law alone cannot make men see right.” p. 557. ………. JFK: “It is better to settle these matters in the courts than on the streets….” p. 557. ………. “Not content with a bill and a speech, he immediately resumed the hard practical job of creating the political, legislative and educational climate that would transform the bill into law and the speech into a new era of racial justice.” p. 557. ………. “At times he found it hard to believe that otherwise rational men could be so irrational on this subject [Civil Rights].” p. 568. ………. JFK: “We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient…that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94% of mankind—that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity—and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.” p. 575. ………. JFK: “On the Presidential coat of arms, the American eagle holds in his right talon the olive branch, while in his left he holds a bundle of arrows…. I intend to give equal attention to both.” p. 575.

To be continued.

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