Monday, November 20, 2006

Politics, Poetry and Posturing

Every November 22nd, older Americans wake up with a pang. More than four decades later, the death of John F. Kennedy still hurts.

It is more than nostalgia. At his inaugural, the poet Robert Frost foresaw “a golden era of poetry and power.” At Kennedy’s death, the world’s poets filled a volume with elegies and anguish.

Since then, poetry and power have gone their separate ways in our national life. As we look at today’s political landscape, is there any trace of JFK’s humanity in Hillary Clinton, John McCain, John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani or any other possible replacements for the robotic President we have now?

John F. Kennedy was far from naïve. There was more of the Irish politician than the Irish poet in him, but he made Americans feel there was a human being behind all the posturing that leaders have to do.

That’s what those of us who knew him miss most.

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