|Ask not what Wales can do for you, as what you can do for Wales|
“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
It is fifty years since these famous and epic making words were uttered by President John F Kennedy at his inauguration, They followed the farewell address of President Dwight D Eisenhower who warned of the dangers of the “Military Industrial Complex”. Though I would like to spend time on Ike’s unheeded warning with which we are now living with the consequences, I am going to meditate on JFK’s epic prose.
The beginning of the 1960s heralding the age where those who fought in WWII were taking charge from those who led it. Symbolised by JFK (who fought) from Ike (who led). Kennedy was a man with a vision and a man with a mission to transcend the Cold War with a new war of hope. He wanted peace and liberty, yes he was a Cold War warrior who saw the Soviets as the epitome of evil, but even he as a Catholic saw the possibility of redemption. He avoided getting the US involved in wars (even though his generals pressured him to nuke Cuba).
There is a great tendency to focus so much on his personal failings, his affairs etc. These are sins of commission, the serious sin is that of omission which is hate and indifference. There was substance to his speech. One thinks of the Civil Rights legislation which he inaugurated and the Peace Corp which did so much around the world, and finally the Test Ban which marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
People see the 1960s as the decade of permissiveness. I think it was a decade of Maturity when Humanity began to grow up, even in the Roman Catholic Church with Pope John XXIII and Vatican II. It was also the decade of martyrdom. With JFK and ending with Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. This new hope was built on the blood of the martyrs.
The 1960s was also a period of maturity for Wales, surely the truth of our modern nation symbolised by Gwynfor Evan’s epic victory at Camathern succeeded Lady Megan Lloyd George the daughter of David Lloyd George surely that is symbolism that cannot be missed. Both Gwynfor and Lloyd George are founders of our modern Wales. 1966 signified the march of Wales to nationhood which makes the upcoming referendum even more important. Wales is standing up, but it needs to stand up for itself and not rely on others to bankroll it.
I am saddened that the “No” side has to rely on such negativity and lies to promote itself, and its not lost on me that one of its leading spokesman is a devout Baptist. I am not sure whether he is a fundamentalist seeing the World and black and white. He does to me with the Assembly and those who support it as being the forces of “darkness” whilst he and his supporters being the forces of “light and truth: and the voice of the “Common Man”. To me its more the voice of bigotry and ignorance which is why they taken the stand of campaigning money, they would prefer people not to be informed and to remain in the dark.
To end Kennedy’s speech was to do with service both to America and the World. Thsi is what should;d motivate Wales. Service both to our country and the world. Preserving what is good and unique our language, and securing prosperity.
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