It is curious to observe just how much the speech President John F. Kennedy was prepared to deliver in Dallas on this day in 1963 echoes our modern times. Some of the words of what is known as “The Unspoken Speech” could just as easily have been written by a president today.
In the undelivered speech, Kennedy states:
There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.
But today other voices are heard in the land — voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as victory and that peace is a sign of weakness. At a time when the national debt is steadily being reduced in terms of its burden on our economy, they see that debt as the greatest single threat to our security. At a time when we are steadily reducing the number of Federal employees serving every thousand citizens, they fear those supposed hordes of civil servants far more than the actual hordes of opposing armies.
We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will “talk sense to the American people.” But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense.
Does any of this seem to resonate with the present in your mind?
John F. Kennedy, time traveller? You decide.
You can read the full speech here.
For a more serious look at Kennedy and his legacy, take a look at my story in the Press & Dakotan today.