jfk on peace

 

What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war, not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace — the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living — and the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war — and frequently the words of the pursuers fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

Examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable — that mankind is doomed — that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

We need not accept that view. Our problems are man-made. Therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable — and we believe they can do it again.

For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.

– President John F. Kennedy, American University, 10 June 1963

 

putrefaction

of late
I’ve had this thought
that this country
has gone backwards
4 or 5 decades
and that all the
social advancement
the good feeling of
person toward
person
has been washed
away
and replaced by the same
old
bigotries.
 
 
we have
more than ever
the selfish wants of power
the disregard for the
weak
the old
the impoverished
the
helpless.

 

we are replacing want with
war
salvation with
slavery.
 
 
we have wasted the
gains
 
 
we have become
rapidly
less.
 
 
we have our Bomb
it is our fear
our damnation
and our
shame.
 
 
now
something so sad
has hold of us
that
the breath
leaves
and we can’t even
cry.

 

–charles bukowski

from the collection “the pleasures of the damned”