JFK and DJT: Neither was perfect, but...

I grew up not liking JFK — not because I knew anything about his policies (I was way too young), but because my father said he was "too liberal."  We all take our cues from our parents at some point.  Looking back on it after about 50 years, I realize now that JFK was pretty close to the mark with the whole "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" thing...particularly the first part of that statement.

I gladly voted for President Reagan.  Not something I regret in the slightest.  By that point, I'd come to the realization that it was my job to make my own way, and he did a damn good job of explaining that.

I gladly voted for H.W. Bush because he was a decent human being.  Okay, fair choice, but it didn't turn out the way I'd hoped.  (When you say, "Read my lips: no new taxes," you'd better mean it.)

I proudly did not vote for Bill Clinton.  Although I relished the news that a person who had a history of abusing "underlings" was called to the carpet for it (but only a little bit...thanks, media), I was sad that some girl got dragged through the mud.

I voted for W.  That turned out to be a disappointment.  Although he did a bang-up job after 9/11, he couldn't seem to keep the same backbone when it came to reducing government spending. 

That's when I started realizing that "Republicans" aren't always good, and "Democrats" aren't always bad.  That's also the point when I dropped my association with the Republican Party.  JFK would never be allowed to run today by the Democratic Party — way too far "right" — but Ronald Reagan would never make it either, — way too accommodating.  What I was looking for was a person who understood human nature, who understood that it's not anyone's job to give you what you want (or need)...it's your job to go out and get it.

In steps Obama — a guy who (other than making shave-ice) has never had a job.  Don't tell me that a community organizer is a job.  He might have been paid for it, but it's still not a job; it's a position.  His timing was perfect, I'll give him that.  He tapped into the angst of people wanting to rid themselves of a perceived sense of guilt over something that happened 150 years ago.  His "fundamentally transform the nation" statement was seen by many as a good thing.  It should have been seen for what it was: an acknowledgement that he was all about turning JFK's statement on its head...as in "ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you."

Now we're into the era of Trump.  Crude, yes.  Crass, without a doubt.  Someone I'd like to call my friend, no.  But he captures the concept of country before self that JFK evoked (albeit in a boorish manner).  Like Reagan, he knows that government is not the solution to the problem, but rather that government is the problem.  He's not afraid to stand up for his stance (sorry, H.W., but you missed the mark on this one).  He has all the foibles of Bill Clinton without the arrogance to look us in the eye and point his knuckle at us and say, "I did not have sex with that woman."  He's making good on his promise to put America first and make us strong as W. did after 9/11 without getting us mired in long wars.  He understands, as opposed to Obama, that people will do what's right for themselves (and in the meantime others) as long as the government doesn't try to "help."

How about if we all just pull in our horns, and instead of asking our country to take care of us, we take care of ourselves...and our country?

I grew up not liking JFK — not because I knew anything about his policies (I was way too young), but because my father said he was "too liberal."  We all take our cues from our parents at some point.  Looking back on it after about 50 years, I realize now that JFK was pretty close to the mark with the whole "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" thing...particularly the first part of that statement.

I gladly voted for President Reagan.  Not something I regret in the slightest.  By that point, I'd come to the realization that it was my job to make my own way, and he did a damn good job of explaining that.

I gladly voted for H.W. Bush because he was a decent human being.  Okay, fair choice, but it didn't turn out the way I'd hoped.  (When you say, "Read my lips: no new taxes," you'd better mean it.)

I proudly did not vote for Bill Clinton.  Although I relished the news that a person who had a history of abusing "underlings" was called to the carpet for it (but only a little bit...thanks, media), I was sad that some girl got dragged through the mud.

I voted for W.  That turned out to be a disappointment.  Although he did a bang-up job after 9/11, he couldn't seem to keep the same backbone when it came to reducing government spending. 

That's when I started realizing that "Republicans" aren't always good, and "Democrats" aren't always bad.  That's also the point when I dropped my association with the Republican Party.  JFK would never be allowed to run today by the Democratic Party — way too far "right" — but Ronald Reagan would never make it either, — way too accommodating.  What I was looking for was a person who understood human nature, who understood that it's not anyone's job to give you what you want (or need)...it's your job to go out and get it.

In steps Obama — a guy who (other than making shave-ice) has never had a job.  Don't tell me that a community organizer is a job.  He might have been paid for it, but it's still not a job; it's a position.  His timing was perfect, I'll give him that.  He tapped into the angst of people wanting to rid themselves of a perceived sense of guilt over something that happened 150 years ago.  His "fundamentally transform the nation" statement was seen by many as a good thing.  It should have been seen for what it was: an acknowledgement that he was all about turning JFK's statement on its head...as in "ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you."

Now we're into the era of Trump.  Crude, yes.  Crass, without a doubt.  Someone I'd like to call my friend, no.  But he captures the concept of country before self that JFK evoked (albeit in a boorish manner).  Like Reagan, he knows that government is not the solution to the problem, but rather that government is the problem.  He's not afraid to stand up for his stance (sorry, H.W., but you missed the mark on this one).  He has all the foibles of Bill Clinton without the arrogance to look us in the eye and point his knuckle at us and say, "I did not have sex with that woman."  He's making good on his promise to put America first and make us strong as W. did after 9/11 without getting us mired in long wars.  He understands, as opposed to Obama, that people will do what's right for themselves (and in the meantime others) as long as the government doesn't try to "help."

How about if we all just pull in our horns, and instead of asking our country to take care of us, we take care of ourselves...and our country?