May 13, 2006

I was reading about John Kenneth Galbraith who just died after living to a grand age of ninety-seven years. He was fortunate to have worked for FDR and JFK among others in his long career. His recollections of Kennedy took me back to my early years working in D.C. as a low-level government employee with a wife and our first child.

We were too young to be cynical or think that the world owed us anything and was enjoying the life we were starting out on. Indeed most of the country at that time was not taking on cynicism as a life’s work. We were enjoying the new young president and his optimism and the classiness he exuded. Watching him, as we could in those days, going by in an open car in a greeting parade for the president of Venezuela Mr. Betancourt, bolstered our confidence that anything was possible for our country. He was better looking in person than on TV. Our only regret was that Jackie who was supposed to be in the little parade did not make it.

Then too soon the world changed and the confidence we felt then for our country and ourselves disappeared with him. I think now as an old man how it is today and wonder if ever again we will find the right person at the right time that we can be proud to have him speak for all of us as one nation, not just a blue president or a red president but a president of all of us rich or poor.

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