“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (John F. Kennedy)


In the history of the world, the United States of America is unique. We are the first people who ever attempted self-government and to this day it is still the great experiment in human development. We do everything the hard way. We fought our way through the War for Independence. We struggled to come up with a workable Constitution and Bill of Rights. We conquered a vast land mass at the expense of the indigenous people who were here before us. We fought a Civil War to keep the Union together and free the slaves. We fought two World Wars to defend our freedom. We accepted people from all corners of the globe, if they accepted our American values. We made it work for 239 years because what we have is worth every sacrifice.

The history of this country is brutal because humanity isn’t humane. We have struggled mightily to overcome our innate selfishness and form a more perfect union. That union is made possible by our willingness to make self-government work for all of us. It’s not a perfect union without mutual agreement but achieving that goal is supremely difficult and it always will be. Millions of Americans have died defending our freedom and that will never change because many other people in the world hate us for being free. There are few, if any, people who seek to immigrate to countries run by dictators and those dictators would love it if America didn’t exist to challenge their authority. We are the bastion of freedom for the oppressed and the mortal enemy of the oppressors.

America is a melting pot of people and ideas. We’re far from perfect because we are an ongoing experiment in humanity. The very nature of experimentation is one of repeated failures. We have to go through the bad parts to get to the good parts but we can only achieve greatness by never giving up. This is what President Kennedy was talking about when he said these famous words. What are we willing to do for our country? Are we willing to test our ideas, our values and our Constitution against those who would seek to end our experiment and are we willing to do whatever it takes to keep moving forward, no matter how painful the experience?

As we approach another election year, I sincerely hope we all evaluate the candidates on the basis of their ability to solve problems and inspire us to greatness. Politics is not government and those who put their political party first should not be elected at any level of government. President Kennedy gave his life for his country. Now ask yourself, which one of these candidates would do the same? And then ask yourself, would you give yours? If we’re not willing to give the last full measure of devotion, that President Lincoln spoke of in the Gettysburg Address, then we have no right to call ourselves Americans and there will be nothing our country can do for us.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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One Response to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (John F. Kennedy)

  1. bbeatson3 says:

    Very thoughtful perception, and one that I felt was motivational and uplifting. This outlook is hard to find with the state of our leadership today. Thank you for transitioning my negative thoughts! My new mantra…”GUY HORST FOR PRESIDENT!”

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