President John F. Kennedy

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By Danilo P. Padua, PhD

“ We should put ourselves to task: “Should I ask the Lord for what I want, or should I ask the Lord for what I can do for Him?”

It is Lenten week as I was writing this piece. I was thinking of offering an article related to agriculture but since it is Lenten, and the theme is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I decided otherwise.
I then chose a topic something related to death; specifically, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the USA. He was only 44 years old when he died
When I went to Texas in Jan, 2020 just about a month before the COVID 19 pandemic was declared, I landed in Dallas-Forth Worth airport, the place where Pres. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. He was the youngest to become USA President, and also the youngest to die in office. He was barely 2 years in office as President.
I was toured on the exact area where Kennedy was fatally felled by a frail man (all of 120 pounds), named Lee Harvey Oswald, an admirer of then Cuban President Fidel Castro. Being a history enthusiast, I was all ears to a tourist guide who was explaining where the gunman was, and where Kennedy’s car was when he was shot.
He was beside his wife, Jackielyn Bouvier Kennedy. Jackie was only around 33 years old when the dastardly assassination happened.
One of his very remarkable and most iconic quotes is: “Ask not what your country can do for you-but what you can do for your country”. That message resonates to all, before and it still does today.
I often heard many local politicians utter that quote. And it rings a bell. Somewhere along the way, the meaning became distorted. It was insidiously turned around by design and purpose.
With all the smuggling, magical machinations, and malpractices by officials and politicians, the Kennedy quote may be recast as follows: Ask not what I can do for you-but what you can do for me. Or, to make it more bluntly: Ask not what I can do for my office-but what I can get from or through my office.
Or, in innumerable house and senate investigations, the quote will run this way. Ask not what we can get from the investigation to craft laws-but what we can get from the investigation in aid of media mileage (or in aid of our election-as many are saying)
By and large, the quote is still very relevant. You agree?
There is another side of that assassination story. The assassination is known to have made Jackie depressed and suicidal. That is, she was in misery after the unexpected death of Pres.Kennedy. But there was more to it than the assassination. Jackie was burdened with personal problems with the President when he was a living president. There were times that she was made to endure things such as electric shocks for back pains, which she actually abhorred, but reluctantly endured them anyway.
Let us not forget that Jackie was considered brilliant and with tremendous grace. That’s why she was deemed to have given Americans something that they never had before she arrived at the scene: majesty. Add to that her being articulate, energetic, and her ability to connect well with people- traits that make envious people hate her.
At least twice, she decided to file a divorce from John Kennedy just before he ran for the presidency, and during his presidency. Both times, the divorce papers were not submitted. This speaks volumes about the attitude and even the hideous trait of Kennedy. And that, it appears that their presumed marriage made in heaven was farthest from the truth.
Curiously, Kennedy did not smoke, and he rarely drinks though he belongs, like Jackie, to the upper class families of America. He was liked by people, especially women. It is no wonder that a lot of women, such as Marilyn Monroe, were closely linked to him
Because of the above, Kennedy’s exhortation of ask not what your country can do for you-but what you can do for your country, is tinged with a little hollow ring. It is, in a sense, like grilling a person in a senate investigation, of wrongdoings that the griller himself/herself is guilty of.
Methinks all of us should seriously and ponder things, especially during this time, to see if we are in accord with the tenets of Christianity. And if found wanting, for us to do the necessary redemptive measures of atoning for our mistakes.
We should put ourselves to task: “Should I ask the Lord for what I want, or should I ask the Lord for what I can do for Him?


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