The Muse

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Blog, June 21, 2022


Is this the longest day of the year? It was on the day I married.

On that June 21, it was Sunday, the longest day of the year, Father’s Day, plus my honey's and my wedding, all rolled into one. My father-law said after three sons, he finally got a daughter.

The summer Solstice is today, the day with the longest amount of sunshine.

 

 

Once in a conversation with a young man fresh out of high school, he was complaining about the plans his parents had for him. In the course of the discussion, I used the word "Liberal."

 

He did a slight double-take. I quickly said that the term was not political in meaning. Perhaps "progressive" or "allowing" would be a better word.

 

Since that encounter, I had wondered when the word "Liberal" became a dirty word. 

 

It's a tainted buzz-word like the word "Evolution," which simply means change over time. (I'm not debating that issue.)

 

I remember a young "Liberal" President who inspired an entire generation of young people to go out and make a better world. 

 

Excuse me if I repeat myself, for this encounter is emblazoned on my brain.

 

Once in an encounter group, a young man, a white kid who had grown up in Africa, among tears, told the group how alone he felt. In Africa, he said, the kids ran together. We put our arms around each other and laughed. He missed that free abandon.

 

From the back of the room came a voice in Swahili. We soon learned that it meant, "Hello, Brother."

 

The kid fell apart, and the people in the room jumped to their feet,  hugging the kid, hugging each other, crying. 

 

The man was Bill Fisher, a dear friend, my writing buddy, and now deceased. (Darn.) He was a Kennedy kid and had been in the Peace Corps in Africa and thus learned Swahili.

 

 This is from Kennedy’s “Liberal” speech:

 

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal."

 

"But 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."

John F. Kennedy, Acceptance of the New York Liberal Party NominationSeptember 14, 1960

 

"Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process."-JFK

 

From JFK’s same “Liberal” speech:

 

I believe also in the United States of America, in the promise that it contains and has contained throughout our history of producing a society so abundant and creative and so free and responsible that it cannot only fulfill the aspirations of its citizens, but serve equally well as a beacon for all mankind. I do not believe in a superstate. I see no magic in tax dollars which are sent to Washington and then returned. I abhor the waste and incompetence of large-scale federal bureaucracies in this administration as well as in others. I do not favor state compulsion when voluntary individual effort can do the job and do it well. But I believe in a government which acts, which exercises its full powers and full responsibilities.

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