"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
-- John F. Kennedy
Everyone remembers this famous quote from JFK's inaugural address in January 1961. It was a public challenge to his fellow citizens to be selfless rather than selfish and to seek independence rather than dependence.
Also during that speech, the new president addressed ideological differences that threatened our nation's well-being and ability to move forward:
* "We offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace."
* "But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course."
* "So let us begin anew -- remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."
* "Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us."
*"And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved."
These quotes all referenced the common enemy of tyranny and threat of Communism, but they certainly give us pause today when we reflect on our divided government and the polarization of America. How far have we progressed or devolved since 1776? Since 1961?