“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”
John F. Kennedy
May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

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  • Yes, it was a time of inspiration — but the forces of anti-democratic secrecy and warmongering were already on the scene, and would turn everything around, from which the Nation never has, and ptobably never will, recover. John Turnbull New Mexico

  • John Turnbull,

    I don’t believe we share the same political affiliations, however, I always find your comments thought provoking.
    For example, “— but the forces of anti-democratic secrecy and warmongering were already on the scene,” made me think immediately of this response: “When were they not?”

    As John Coyne is showing, the men and sometimes women who manned the Peace Corps in the early days, had all lived through WWII. Many, if not most, were combat veternans, including, most notably, Kennedy and Shriver. The Inspiritation came from that experience, not from some grad school babble.

    I find myself more and more frequently turning to a statement from the Talmud which Ghana I pioneer, Bob Klein shared so often: “”It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.”
    Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot 2:21

    • Thanks for all these comments this Thanksgiving weekend ending today Sunday with Bob Klein’s Talmud share above. Bliss to be alive remembered, relived. And may I add “Om padmosnisa vimale hum phat” that I remember from way back when and also the book that guided me since age 28, THE LITTLE LOCKSMITH (1942) by Katharine Butler Hathaway “In order to save one’s life, as has been said, one must be willing to let it be tossed away, and not many of us are willing. All well-brought up people are afraid of having any experience which seems to them uncharacteristic of themselves as they themselves to be. Yet this is the only kind of experience that is really alive and can lead them anywhere worth going.” On page 235 Katharine says “If this Dark Age now covering half the earth is destined to engulf all continents and all people for centuries to come, the next dawn that breaks upon the ruin of today’s world will surely begin to shine with a tender clear light at the moment when some future wanderer lifts up his his head and sees something as if for the first time and pauses to admire, then feels in his breast a kindling fire and wonder and then …. We have lost that sequence, as all spoiled people lost it….Preliminary things are told, the rest is waiting….But the probability of my being free to return to my story in the spring is less certain than the probability was then of my being free….except an unusually late snowstorm and a prolonged mud season….”

  • Joanne, Per your comment, I have no particular political affiliation, but as a scientist and amateur historian, I do have a lot of impressions, ideas and principles.

    You ask when was warmongering, & cetera NOT going on. I think an examination of the era before the onset of WW-2 answers that. By the end of the massive mobilization of American mfg industry and banks for the war, a huge armaments industry had been brought into existence, fueled by a a flood of tax money.

    AFTER the war, and perpetuating this newfound flow of money, required a justification — sales of armaments no longer needed in peacetime, and that meant creating the need.

    The truth of this massive change in America was the farewell address from President Eisenhower, whose military career had been big in armaments procurement. He knew a LOT about it. It was the old General, “Ike”, who warned the Nation of the rise of, and inordinate influence of “The Military-Industrial Complex”, on our policy-making. Interestingly, Ike’s original draft named “The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex”. He changed that at the last minute, evidently to avoid antagonizing key Senators and Congressmen (who no doubt had discovered this boundless source of contributions).

    Going back further, it is worth remembering the unanimous opposition of the Founding Fathers to a large standing military. Their concern was that, if it was sitting there, political opportunists would be constantly tempted to find a use for it. In point of fact, the warmongering forces that i see today, originating with the armaments industry of post WW-2, does NOT have any tradition in this country. To wit: at the onset of the Spanish War in 1898, and then again in 1917, with WW-1, this country had virtually NO armaments industry, and miniscule standing military. The ominous beginnings, though, could be seen with American industry discovering the potential profits of mfg ammunition, &c for European armies, before America’s actual involvement. But this was trifling, compared to the industrial mobilization of 1940, ’41.

    A contrarian might counter that what really drove this “Military-Industrial Complex” was the post-WW-2 ideological challenge of world Communism, as pushed by nation states, USSR and Mao’s Red China. BUT, if so, then WHY would retiring President Eisenhower take that moment, as he retired from public life, to say what he said ??

    As you might know, I was one of those early PCVs who, after PC service, would have it essentially thrown in my face, and drafted into the latest warmongering, the Vietnam War. I’ve never forgotten that, and the people responsible. With regard to that, and the way I feel, I would point to the famous “Pentagon Papers”, revealing the conniving that got America enmeshed in that. Thanks to insider Danial Ellsberg, we know A LOT about it, and who was going to profit, big-time.

    So, Joanne, that’s my reasoning. Politically I have, like most New Mexicans, been a mixture of conservative and (very) liberal values.
    And like most of my neighbours, I have registered as a Democrat — the reasoning being that it gives somebody the chance to vote in the primary where the really important candidate decisions are made. Very pragmatic. But, to be sure all those Democrats don’t give away the store, and the future of our children, New Mexico Democrats will usually elect a Republican Governor. How pragmatic can you get ?? John Turnbull Lower Canoncito NM

    • i FORMERLY thought myself independent thoughtful person without wasting my lifetime. Plodding on.
      i WISH (“iF wishes were horses beggars would ride”) i might do it over with learned smarts. Not now. My race is over and my past is watching me. Most of the time now I tell myself ‘let it go’ adumbrating some ways to go on as the clocks are ticking. You wouldn’t understand. Nobody would. My younger, late brother Pete the handsome fellow with great hair and who danced and sang as we all would want to do, could sing all Elvis Presley’s songs just the way Elvis did. Both dead and one remembered generally but I would like to be recalled the way Peter is by his loved ones and forgotten when we are all dead. There are monsters in our world. And many little angel brothers.

  • Edward, That sounds pretty melancholy, with so much in this world needed, as our late friend Bob Klein’s quote from the Talmud, suggests and admonishes.

    Here is something from an earlier poet, in a moment of self-reflection, as he was approaching old age (Aren’t we all ?) John Turnbull

    Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

    Whose woods these are I think I know.

    His house is in the village though;

    He will not see me stopping here

    To watch his woods fill up with snow.

    My little horse must think it queer

    To stop without a farmhouse near

    Between the woods and frozen lake

    The darkest evening of the year.

    He gives his harness bells a shake

    To ask if there is some mistake.

    The only other sound’s the sweep

    Of easy wind and downy flake.

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

    But I have promises to keep,

    And miles to go before I sleep,

    And miles to go before I sleep.

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