JFK Revisited by Pat Kowal, Carlinville #3

Fifty-six years ago, John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to all Americans: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”  We’ve come a long way from there, unfortunately in the wrong direction.  Certainly, our governor seems more interested in promoting his own agenda rather than doing what’s best for all the citizens of Illinois.  I won’t even mention dear old D.J.

But it’s not just those at the top who seem to have forgotten what it’s like to serve for the good of the whole.  I know many people who love to complain about what’s wrong with the country but don’t do anything to promote change.  Some are convinced their voice is unimportant and will not be heard; some say they are too busy with work and family; others say they don’t know what to do; some believe they should be rewarded in some way for whatever they do.  I’m lucky in many ways—at my advanced age, I neither want nor need a job and I have the time to help further the ideals important to me.

But all of us have the time for something.  It takes a couple of minutes to make a phone call to an elected official, a little longer to email or write a letter.   One voice might not be heard but hundreds of voices will be.  Most door-to-door canvassing and/or distributing literature can take whatever time you have—an hour or two can reach several potential voters.  Blogs, Facebook posts, and letters to the editor take as much time as you can give.

Personally, I’d like to live in a society that doesn’t examine every idea with a “what’s in it for me” viewpoint.  It’s not even healthy.  Psychologists have found that doing something for someone else actually contributes to the doer’s sense of well-being.  So think about it: do we want to see Governor Rauner re-elected?  Do we want Senator Manar defeated?  Do we want our state representative to be an extension of Rauner’s beliefs?  Or do we want to do something to see that none of those things happen?   I hope everyone reading this will say “no” to the first three questions and a resounding “yes” to the last one.  Now is the time to do something for your community and your country.