In response to Sen. Brown cherry picking a quote for his new, albeit confused ad “Let America Be America.” I thought I’d give everyone a bit more context from then Senator Kennedy’s speech on October 31st 1960. I tried to edit it down into something more digestible, but also added a link to the full text at the end who want to read it in its entirety.
The point is, America is America when we work together, care for one another, and invest in our Country. Something our current junior Senator has failed to do time and time again.
“I believe in an America where every man, or woman, who wants to work can find work – a full week’s work for a full week’s pay; where every man or woman of talent can use those talents; where the waste of idle men and idle machines, of steel mills half shut down, and coal mines boarded up, of chronic recessions and slumps, can be limited; where a growing economy provides new jobs and new markets for a growing nation, without inflating the consumer’s prices beyond the reach of their budgets and their families.
I believe in an America where every child is educated not according to his means or his race, but according to his capacity; where there are no longer literacy tests for voting, because there are no illiterates; where children go to school for a full school day in a well-lit, well-heated, well-equipped classroom, paid- taught by well-trained, well-paid teachers; where there are enough colleges and classrooms and dormitories to make it possible for every young man and woman of talent to go to college – instead of, as today, nearly 35 percent of our brightest boys and girls who graduate from high school never see the inside of a college. What a waste of a great national resource that is.
I believe in an America where one’s latest years are the good years – years of security and dignity; where medical care for the aged is provided out of social security – a contribution of less than 3 cents a day during their working years; where older people can find decent housing, suitable to their needs; and where doors are not automatically shut in their face by any employer, including the Federal Government, for in those crucial years we need their wisdom and their counsel.
I believe in an America where every family can live in a decent home in a decent neighborhood; where children can play safely; where no home is unsafe or unsanitary, and today there are 15 million American homes which are substandard… That doesn’t represent progress to me. That doesn’t represent meeting the needs of the people. That doesn’t represent building a strong and vital country.
I believe in an America of fair prices for the farmer, and fair profits for the businessmen, and fair wages for the worker; where those who are out of work or handicapped or disabled can receive a helping hand; where there are no longer chronic depressed areas; and no hungry children…
I believe in an America where the wonders of science are a blessing, not a curse – where automation brings benefits, not where a machine takes the job of ten men, and then those ten men are unemployed. Where farm abundance, stemming from a revolution in farm technology, brings more food to the world, not more hardship for our farmers.
I believe in an America where the free enterprise system flourishes for all other systems to see and admire – where no businessman lacks either competition or credit – and where no monopoly, no racketeer, no government bureaucracy can put him out of business that he built up with his own initiative.
I believe in an America where the rights that I have described are enjoyed by all, regardless of their race or their creed or their national origin – where every citizen is free to think and speak as he pleases and write and worship as he pleases – and where every citizen is free to vote as he pleases, without instructions from anyone, his employer, the union leader or his clergyman.
Finally, I believe in an America with a government of men devoted solely to the public interests – men of ability and dedication, free from conflict or corruption or other commitment – a responsible government that is efficient and economical, with a balanced budget over the years of the cycle, reducing its debt in prosperous times – a government willing to entrust the people with the facts that they have – not a businessman’s government, with business in the saddle, as the late Secretary McKay described this administration of which he was a member – not a labor government, not a farmer’s government, not a government of one section of the country or another, but a government of, for and by the people.” – Senator John F. Kennedy
You can read the full text of the speech here: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=74316