On May 25, 1961, JFK said the following in his speech to a joint session of Congress: "These are extraordinary times. And we face an extraordinary challenge. Our strength as well as our convictions have imposed upon this nation the role of leader in freedom's cause. No role in history could be more difficult or more important. We stand for freedom." Fifty years ago, America's enemy was the Soviet Union and I would argue, also itself. This speech outlined new defense spending in order to combat the Soviets. But this line near the end of the speech did more to fight the Soviets and help America out the doldrums than any amount of ammo could buy: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."
At the time, putting a man on the moon seemed technologically impossible. Today, we are asking why we haven't been to Mars yet? JFK put a goal out there for America. He made Americans start believing in themselves. It was genius. By asking us to do the impossible, he allowed Americans to dream. He urged them to come together for a common goal. He urged them to put aside their differences and change the course of the country. Most importantly, he gave us hope that America's best days have yet to be realized --- in just 31 words.
Somewhere between 1969, when we landed on the moon and today, we have seemed to have lost hope in America and ourselves. We have become embittered, embattled and bloating with so much debt and turmoil that all hope seems lost in this once proud and prosperous country.
1 Peter 3:15 - in just 31 words - gives us hope that America's best days have yet to be realized as well as giving us (and me) a blueprint for the future by saying, "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in."
As a Christian, my hope lies in the fact that I can live in the presence of God eternally because Jesus sacrificed Himself, defeated death and rose from grave allowing me to no longer be separated from God because of my sinful nature. Verse 15 tells me to honor Christ when people ask me why I have hope. To honor Christ means to "not by grab folks by the collar and yelling "Sinner!" in their faces, but rather with a gentle, well-reasoned answer from the Scriptures." Likewise, as verse 16 goes on to say, "(but) do this in a gentle and respectful way."
What bothers me about most of today's politicians is that no one respects anyone or their points of view should they differ. They are too busy condemning each other instead of putting all differences aside in order to solve the nation's, the state's or the local government's problems.
Whether or not you are a Christian, you should be able to agree with me that for us to be hopeful at this country, we should take a page from Jesus and come together in a "gentle and respectful way." Bitterness, anger and resentment should be checked at the door.
Should the right situation warrant itself and I do indeed run for public office, I will take a page from both JFK and Jesus in giving hope to people. I will not preach to people, rather I will treat each voter and constituent with respect and honor - one at a time. And, the number 31 will be a part of my campaign literature as a reminder to me and the citizens that changing a country begins by first giving each person hope.
Empowering the individual to do good will change Washington --- not empowering one party over the other.
31 Words - JFK, Jesus and You. Sounds like a recipe for a movement. Doesn't it?