In 1960 an organization called the SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, was created by college students forming what was known as the "New Left". This radical organization was strong for 15 years and other similar organizations tried to mimic the SDS, but none were as big or as influential. These other groups were The Black Power Movement, The War resisters League and The Young Socialist Alliance, to name only a few. By the early 1970's most of the founders of the SDS had aligned themselves with the democratic party and a new philosophical shift was in motion. The party was changing and moving further to the left while a new President was elected.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy became President in 1961 during this ideological revolution. The charismatic, young leader energized the youth in America and captured a nation with his inaugural address when he told Americans to "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Few Presidents since have been able to capture his call of sacrifice by American citizens that resonated with so many. He was an enemy of tyranny and despised oppressive nations. He created the Peace Corps and asked Americans to volunteer in underdeveloped nations to educate their citizens into better conditions. He continued with the Eisenhower foreign policy of attempting to overthrow the dictator Fidel Castro. According to Wikipedia
"On April 17, 1961, Kennedy ordered the previously planned invasion of Cuba to proceed. With support from the CIA, in what is known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1,500 U.S.-trained Cuban exiles, called "Brigade 2506," returned to the island in the hope of deposing Castro. However, Kennedy ordered the invasion to take place without U.S. air support. By April 19, 1961, the Cuban government had captured or killed the invading exiles, and Kennedy was forced to negotiate for the release of the 1,189 survivors. The failure of the plan originated in a lack of dialog among the military leadership, a result of which was the complete lack of naval support in the face of organized artillery troops on the island who easily incapacitated the exile force as it landed on the beach. After twenty months, Cuba released the captured exiles in exchange for $53 million worth of food and medicine. Furthermore, the incident made Castro wary of the U.S. and led him to believe that another invasion would occur."Also, his handling of the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962 was hailed as a success in diplomacy, but ended the fight against communism in Cuba leaving Castro as dictator clear up to this, the 21st century.
In 1962 Kennedy escalated the Vietnam war by sending 16,000 more troops to the region. Many have argued that if he would have finished his term, he would have ended the war all together. While his Presidency was hawkish at first, there is evidence that he was becoming less so further into his Presidency.
In 1963 JFK gave a speech at the Berlin wall where he says:
"Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in."He also sought to contain communism in Latin America where he said:
"those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable"Kennedy's domestic policy was called the New Frontier and promised federal funding for education, medical aid for the elderly and an end to racial discrimination, to name a few. His domestic policy is closest to the democratic party agenda today. But, like George W. Bush, he believed in low taxes and in 1963 he proposed tax reform and lowered income taxes to halt the recession that began under the Eisenhower administration. He promoted low interest rates, low taxes and tight fiscal policies to keep the economy growing. Under his Presidency the economy thrived. His conservative fiscal policy gave the country 5.5% growth and only a 1% inflation increase. Industry grew by 15% and auto sales grew by 40%.
President Kennedy was against the death penalty, fought against racial segregation and secured the release of Dr. King from jail. In 1962 he sent 400 federal marshals to accompany James Meredith to the University of Mississippi after the Supreme Court ruled segregation unconstitutional. His achievements in civil rights are the shining stars of his legacy and there are many examples. Suffice it to say that he was a champion of civil rights. This was and is not a democratic ideology, this is a constitutional guarantee.
In November of 1963 in Dallas, Texas, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Because of his foreign policy and economic ideologies, I consider JFK to be a moderate democrat. So many democrats have turned against his admonition to "ask not" and have moved further left towards socialism and they ask more of what our country can do for them. He also asked what more we can do together for the freedom of man and asked for "HIS blessing and HIS help, knowing God's work here on earth must truly be our own." He was a man of faith and invoked God regularly in his speeches. Times have changed. And isn't it funny that George W. Bush turned out to be so similar in ideology to JFK, but was called a religious nut-job for enacting the same faith in his speeches as Mr. Kennedy. No, liberals you can't claim John Fitzgerald Kennedy as one of your own. But you can claim Teddy, and that doesn't hurt my feelings one bit. He is all yours.
"Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah, to...undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free." I love that he quoted the Bible regularly and wanted freedom for the oppressed, unlike the democrats of today. Democrats today are nothing but ribbon wearers. John F. Kennedy was not a liberal. He was a republican by today's standards and that is just the facts.