“Our political life is becoming so expensive, so mechanized and so dominated by professional politicians and public relations men that the idealist who dreams of independent statesmanship is rudely awakened by the necessities of election and accomplishment. And our public life is becoming so increasingly centered upon that seemingly unending war…that we tend to encourage rigid ideological unity and orthodox patterns of thought.
“And thus, in the days ahead, only the very courageous will be able to take the hard and unpopular decisions necessary for our survival in the struggle with a powerful enemy….And only the very [bold] will be able to keep alive the spirit of individualism and dissent which gave birth to this nation, nourished it as an infant and carried it through the severest tests upon the attainment of its maturity.
“Of course, it would be much easier if we could continue to think in traditional political patterns…It would be more comfortable to continue to move and vote in platoons, joining whomever of our colleagues are equally enslaved by some current fashion, raging prejudice, or popular movement. But today this nation cannot tolerate such lazy political habits. Only the strength and progress and peaceful change that come from independent judgment and individual ideas – and even from the unorthodox and the eccentric – can enable us to surpass that foreign ideology that fears free thought more than it fears [bombs].”
Would you be surprised to learn this was written in 1960? John F. Kennedy knew how to use words.