November 22 marks the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination in Dallas. Although I wasn’t around at that time, I’m well aware that the occasion was as horrifying to my parents’ generation as September 11th was to mine.

While reflecting on this anniversary, I came upon the remarks that President Kennedy was supposed to make that fateful day before the Texas Democratic State Committee. In a case of “he being dead yet speaketh,” I found the last two paragraphs particularly interesting in the light of what our nation has been going through in recent years. Kennedy said:

“For this country is moving and it must not stop. It cannot stop. For this is a time for courage and a time for challenge. Neither conformity nor complacency will do. Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a party is not to our party alone, but to the Nation, and, indeed, to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom.

So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause–united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future-and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

In the time that has passed since the 2016 election, many have thrown up their hands and worked themselves into a frenzy, banding together and insisting that everyone conform to their way of thinking. Others have engaged in petty acts of destruction or anger, acts which really serve no other purpose than to make those individuals look like crybabies.

On the flip side, those who may be more accepting of the election results are faced with the complacency which Kennedy warned of, preferring to sit back and let the cards fall where they may, convinced that they don’t have to lift a finger because the ship is in good hands.

As Kennedy was so clearly about to state on the day he died, neither option will work. Is it time Americans of all parties, races, genders, and classes actually took his message to heart?  

Image Credit: Victor Hugo King, Public Domain