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Monday, December 09, 2019

Kennedy A Conservative? Only If We’re Feeling Charitable

Kennedy CGM

One of the things Pope Francis teaches us is that we should share, and that those of us who have more should be willing to give to those who are less fortunate. Those of us who are Democrats follow proudly in the footsteps of real champions of this idea — individuals who have fought for progress, economic justice, and equity. People we can be proud to call Democrats: FDR, JFK, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.

By contrast, our Republican friends have pathetically little in their past to honor. That’s why you cannot listen to a Republican speech without every other word being “Reagan.” They simply don’t have anyone else, except Lincoln, of course, but he would not recognize this Republican Party as his own. So they have to find someone new to talk about — after all, they cannot talk about Sarah Palin. And in their quest to find a new hero, they have decided to claim John F. Kennedy as their own. They have determined, apparently, that underneath it all he was really a conservative Republican.

I know your first inclination is to think, “How can they say this?” But I think we Democrats should take our cue from Pope Francis, and be charitable. As the holidays approach, we should actually feel sorry for the sparsity of gifts they have under their holiday tree and share.

Oh, and to the question of whether John F. Kennedy was really a conservative? Perhaps we should ask Kennedy himself, because he actually had something to say about that:

If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people—their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties—someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say “I’m a Liberal.”

If you are still wondering, ask yourself if this sounds more like Bill Clinton or Sarah Palin.

So, my dear friends in the GOP, I’m in a giving mood. And in the spirit of Pope Francis, we will let you use Kennedy for the holidays — and then we’re gonna take him back.

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