Rockwell is remembered as a artist who captured America and Americans at their best in worst times. Central to his work were the pieces that became known as the "Four Freedoms."
Rockwell told our story, the American story of the 1930's through the 1960's. His paintings captured the fear and strength of an emerging superpower. He captured our sense of wonder and our sense of determination. He was oft criticized for only capturing our "good times", but anyone who has ever really looked at his body of work, especially at "Southern Justice", and "The Problem We All Live With" knows that Rockwell understood both the American ability to do absolutely the right thing and the most horrible things. He just chose to most often show us, and remind us, of our best moments. His work reinforces that we proceed the farthest the fastest by working together.
In a like way, John F. Kennedy asked us to do the same thing. No one since Lincoln had been more divisive than the Boston Brahmin-like , Harvard educated yet Roman Catholic JFK. Our first WWII vet President and War Hero he was from an old line political machine yet like Theodore Roosevelt spoke like a populist.
He won a contested election. The nation was 50/50 for and against him, and yet Kennedy is revered by most Americans not only because he was killed by an assassin's bullet, but because he called on us to serve each other, to do not what was best or expedient for oneself but to do what was best for our nation. He ushered us in with a feeling that we could do ANYTHING. Land on the moon. Sure! Make the world safe for democracy. Absolutely! Equalize race relations. Without a doubt! We believed because he did. We believed because, our leaders, split as they were against each other, made it their job to do a job.
Ronald Regan. An Actor. A liberal labor leader turned Goldwater Republican. Was gonna lead us into war with the Soviets. Was going to destroy the poor and trample on the rights of everyone he didn't agree with.
Nope. He too saw the shining light on the hilltop as our nation. He engineered the fall of the Soviet Empire, and the rebirth of our nation as a superpower of import without firing a single shot. He stabilized our economy and made us proud of ourselves. Not by focusing on the things that kept us apart, but rather focusing on what brought us together. He fought with leaders of the left, and they with him, but the name calling we were now? The garbage that passes for political debate today? Non existent under his watch.
Regan Kennedy and Rockwell all understood the limits of America, but they called on us to remember not who we weren't but who we were and more importantly whom we could be.
To my Tea Party and Liberal friends, CUT IT OUT! Please don't send me another piece of E-mail that attacks President Obama or Senator McConnell. I don't care at this point where the hell Obama was born. I don't care that Michael Steele took some conservative yuppies to a burlesque show. Please never say "Rush Limbaugh" or "Rachel Maddow"to me, even in a joke.
I care that I want health care. I want my employees covered and I want to be covered. I know you want that too.
I want to be able to afford a vacation and still be able to retire some day. I know you want that too.
I want to give less money to the government and I want to make more money than I do. Who doesn't want this??
I want then poor to have shelter, and education. I want there to be no poverty in our nation. Republicans and Democrats want this too.
I want to live free. I don't want to have to be screened to get into my local library. Don't we all want this?
I want to save the environment and to know that our earth will feed my great great grandchildren someday. It isn't just my dream is it??
I would like you, as my elected officials to only tell me how you will do this. I do not want to hear your critique of the other guy's idea. (I am smart enough to do that critique myself, thank you.)
If I like your ideas better than the others that I hear, I will vote for you, donate to your campaigns and respect you.
If you shout down your opponent, call him or his ideas names mis-characterize his programs and act like a spoiled child if he wins the election, I will not vote for you, I will not support you and I WILL NOT RESPECT YOU!!
I ask, no I beg, the Sergeants at Arms of the United States House and Senate to post a print of Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech" at the door of each chamber. Maybe that will remind you those guys
Hattip: NY Times