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I've never known such a feeling of safety and security in my life.
As far as I know he was the first president to go on record and warn the public about unseen self-serving interest groups (if I am wrong and someone knows of any President(s) before him who so blatantly spoke out, please let me know).
It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation--an obligation which I share. And that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people--to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well--the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.
No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.
I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers--I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.
Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed--and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.
This means greater coverage and analysis of international news--for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security--and we intend to do it.
Milt - thank you for your response and no worries about bursting my bubble as it was not my bubble to burst. As I said, I had siblings who had an entirely different perspective than my parents did and I always knew that the whole era and the idealization of Chamelot posthumously was just an illusion but it was never mine to shatter because I didn't live it.
I realize that the world was in a perilous state at the time and it's been said we were a hair's breath away from destruction, but don't you think that the world is far more perilous now, subconsciously known by the masses yet largely kept under wraps by the government?
And assuming that this is the case, do you think that our current leadership would be able to pull us through like Kennedy did (although I'm not naive enough to think he was solely responsible for the outcome, he did play a principal role)?
Having lived through both periods, do you think it's better to exist unaware of the perils?
As long as I've been old enough to understand the dangers of the world, I have never felt that I would know what, if anything, was coming around the corner and that's what I meant about living with a feeling of safety and security. I'm honestly curious how you feel about this question - would you rather know?
Your comment about Kennedy's uncertainty in getting reelected is one I've never heard before and I'm most curious about this comment. Why was this so and if it was solely due to the state of the world, do you feel that it was such a volatile time because of poor leadership or was it due to the extreme polarization that existed between the East and the West?
And do you think that if such conditions existed today, our current President would be able to diplomatically get us through it?