July 1, 2022

No Longer the Democratic Party of JFK

In this current era of no compulsory military service, Veterans Day takes on personal meaning to fewer and fewer Americans.

When the country transitioned to a voluntary military in 1973, about 1% of the population served on active duty. Today, it is less than one-half of 1%.

But perhaps we can take it further and say that the idea of compulsory service of any kind has personal meaning to fewer and fewer Americans.

This brings to mind the famous words of newly elected President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address, on Jan. 20, 1961, 60 years before our next president will be administered the oath of office, in January 2021.

Kennedy said, “And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

Reading over Kennedy’s words from that time, one can barely recognize the country he was speaking to. Nor is Kennedy’s Democratic Party, whose mantle he carried, recognizable compared with what it has become today.

Today, amidst the politics of blame, grievance and victimhood, it has all but been forgotten that the Democratic Party once delivered a president who spoke about national service and self-sacrifice.

Here’s how Kennedy opened that address: “The world is very different now. … And yet, the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”

When Kennedy spoke those words, in public school, American children were still allowed to read from the Bible and pray.

Abortion was illegal.

Seventy-five percent of American adults ages 18 and above were married, compared with 50% today.

A little over 5% of American babies were born to unwed mothers, compared with over 40% today.

The national debt stood at 53% of the gross domestic product, or GDP. The Congressional Budget Office projects national debt will reach 98% of GDP this year, 107% of GDP by 2023 (the highest in the nation’s history) and 195% by 2050.

The legislation that most defined Kennedy’s short presidency was one of the most sweeping cuts of taxes in American history. Marginal tax rates were cut 30% over two years, and corporate tax rates were reduced.

The result was a surge in the economy and revenues to the federal government. As reported by Cato Institute scholar Alan Reynolds, federal revenues rose 29% over the four years following those tax cuts.

Did the United States have problems in 1960? Of course. We know about the racial problems. It was not until 1964 that the Civil Rights Act was passed.

But failure to live up to ideals is a problem in man, not in the ideals.

Today, speaking about the ideals of America’s founding — speaking about one free nation under God, as President Kennedy did — opens one up to being called a racist.

America’s minorities today constitute America’s future. Fifty-nine percent of minorities are under the age of 37. Forty-three percent of the white population is under 37.

These nonwhite Americans will inherit a country strapped with staggering debt, a country of broken families, a country that is aging due to diminishing birth rates, a country of sluggish economic growth due to big government and socialism.

Black and Hispanic Americans should think about whether this is the country they really want for their children and grandchildren. Or whether they would prefer the ideals of one nation under God, the founding ideals that President Kennedy talked about, where individuals seek personal responsibility to build and be part of and serve something greater than themselves.

In other words, whether they really want to be free.

Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and author of the new book “Necessary Noise: How Donald Trump Inflames the Culture War and Why This is Good News for America.” Readers can respond to Star’s column by emailing [email protected]


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Kent Sinclair (@guest_1072812)
1 year ago

If JFK were alive today he would be a Republican.

Robert W (@guest_1072851)
Reply to  Kent Sinclair
1 year ago


scot_belle (@guest_1072879)
Reply to  Kent Sinclair
1 year ago


Bj McAllister (@guest_1072919)
Reply to  Kent Sinclair
1 year ago

I agree

Martin Michaels (@guest_1074901)
Reply to  Kent Sinclair
1 year ago

JFK was ALMOST a Republican then. And THAT was only ONE of the reasons LBJ hated him so much. Johnshon literally HATED John Kennedy because he was richer, better looking, younger, Conservative – especially for a Democrat – and because he was a Catholic. It was KENNEDY who had pushed for Equal Rights, NOT Johnson. LBJ had, along with Rob’t Byrd (a fellow KKK member) had fought AGAINST the1947, 1959 AND what eventually became the 1964 Civil Rights Acts. Johnson got behind it ONLY when he realized he could wrest the Balck vote from Republicans by doing so. Even then, it was watered down from what JFK had wanted. LBJ’s backing of the ’64 CRA so enraged Byrd that he left the Democrat party.

Shelley R Mason (@guest_1075513)
Reply to  Kent Sinclair
1 year ago

Thats right! He was nothing like democrats of today. He was believable, likeable,dedicated to our country and our futures. I can just see what the look on his face would be if he saw and/or heard of all this bull.

schamblee7 (@guest_1072897)
1 year ago

Well said and very true!

Larry Gaines (@guest_1072927)
1 year ago

honest and good Democrats died with JFK. LBJ saw to that

Linda M. (@guest_1072935)
1 year ago

This story stirred the deep sorrow I felt when I learned JFK was murdered. But more importantly this story has reminded me of ALL this country has lost already at the hands of the democrats.And what we WILL lose if Biden becomes our next sitting president. I mourn and remember all the brave men and women that lost their lives defending our once great nation today and always. Something I am sure Biden will abolish as well. Memorial Day.

Holly Dutton (@guest_1072947)
1 year ago

Today’s Democratic Party would not even invite JFK to an open house potluck dinner.

Theodore (@guest_1072953)
1 year ago

I was in the first grade, and my teacher brought a television into the room we were going to watch the procession as Kennedy went through the square when he was killed. I can’t shut the TV off right away cuz she knew what happened we were all stunned. We all knew what happened schools closed for like a month I remember seeing John John saluting to his father if they brought him by in the kason, his boots facing outward. I still cry. I remember the Cuban missile crisis. And he’s damned liberals want to give all that back to us don’t they? Is a revolution in the air!!

Theodore (@guest_1072962)
1 year ago

I wish this phone would not change my words when I speak them.
My teacher shut the TV off right away when she realized what had happened but we all had already seen that he had been killed we were all stunned.
I remember seeing John-John salute as they brought Kennedy by on the caisson.

Debi (@guest_1072977)
1 year ago

Those on the left are chicken doo-doo. ALWAYS it’s the ones on the right, good conservative AMERICANS, who step up for this country.

Mary Freeman (@guest_1073101)
1 year ago

President John Kennedy said those words, “Ask not what your country” , etc. was taken from a speech by Abraham Lincoln. Kennedy repeated that phrase. John Kennedy idolized Abraham Lincoln.

Martin Michaels (@guest_1074907)
Reply to  Mary Freeman
1 year ago

Most speeches are paraphrases of something that has been said before…And it was even more apt when Kennedy said it. Kennedy was not perfect, but he was a great President at the right time. I believe Robert would have been even better had he lived. The irony is that he, like his brother, would have defeated Richard Nixon. I voted for Nixon, but even though I have always been a Republican, I would have voted for Bobby.



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