One of the most enduring parts of John F. Kennedy’s legacy are his powerful speeches. Although Kennedy’s time in office was tragically cut short, his words helped light the way in a time when America was steeped in the Cold War and coming to terms with its internal divisions between race, gender, and generations.
While trying to heal the fissures in America’s social fabric he also pointed to the future by proposing plans to eliminate poverty and challenging us to go to the moon and beyond.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
“If not us, who? If not now, when?”
“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”
“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
“We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or make it the last.”
In 2018, Kennedy’s thoughtful, challenging, and uplifting words seem even more important in the era of Donald Trump. Trump uses words to divide, mislead, and diminish the American people and our allies, while giving little thought to their power.
The The JFK Library Foundation has teamed up with The Martin Agency to help bring Kennedy’s words to a new generation of Americans. Its new Words Count project will post quotes from the late president on the @JohnFKennedy Twitter account under #WordsCount.
While the campaign hasn’t admitted to being anti-Trump, it’s clear its intent is underline the effect a president’s words can have on society.
“With each call to action made by President Kennedy during his time in office, he invited Americans to help him solve problems facing our nation,” Steven Rothstein, executive director at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, said a statement.
“Today, we see citizen activism on the rise, increased voter participation rates and a new generation that is speaking out and getting involved in the political process,” Rothstein continued. “With the launch of this effort, we hope JFK’s words will speak directly to them, with the immediacy and urgency of a modern platform, to be a guiding light as they set out to shape our future.”
Here are some of the campaigns’ best tweets:
“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.” #ThursdayThoughts— John F. Kennedy (@JohnFKennedy) November 1, 2018\n
Divided there is little we can do - for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder. #WordsCount— John F. Kennedy (@JohnFKennedy) November 20, 2018\n
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. #WordsCount— John F. Kennedy (@JohnFKennedy) November 14, 2018\n
Too often… we subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. #WordsCount— John F. Kennedy (@JohnFKennedy) November 20, 2018\n
"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers." #PatriotDay— John F. Kennedy (@JohnFKennedy) September 11, 2018\n
A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all. #WordsCount— John F. Kennedy (@JohnFKennedy) November 14, 2018\n