Tuesday, May 20, 2008

America's Last Transformational President (After FDR) On Peace, Security, Civilization, Nationality, And The Arts

"What kind of peace do we seek? Not a PAX Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time."

- John F. Kennedy


"I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.

This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.

To further the appreciation of culture among all the people, to increase respect for the creative individual, to widen participation by all the processes and fulfillments of art--this is one of the fascinating challenges of these days.

There is a connection, hard to explain logically but easy to feel, between achievement in public life and progress in the arts. The age of Pericles was also the age of Phidias. The age of Lorenzo de Medici was also the age of Leonardo da Vinci. The age of Elizabeth was also the age of Shakespeare. And the New Frontier for which I campaign in public life can also be a New Frontier for American art.

I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty.

I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit."

- John F. Kennedy


Economists for Peace and Security

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: A Living Memorial

FDR and the American Presidents on Public Broadcasting Service, produced with major funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


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