You know conservative Republicans are in trouble when Cal Thomas has to quote John F. Kennedy to make a point.
But you know things are really bad for conservatives when Cal Thomas deliberately misquotes Kennedy, and then misses the whole point of the quote when he does it.
During his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961, Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
John F. Kennedy
Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961
When he said that, Kennedy was telling Americans that we need to look beyond ourselves, and think about the country as a whole.
We’re all in this together, and instead of being selfish we should do things for the common good of all of us.
But Cal Thomas twists Kennedy’s statement into something selfish, which is the exact opposite of what Kennedy was saying on that blustery January day.
Instead of, “Ask what you can do for your country,” Cal Thomas wrote, “Ask what you can do for yourself.”
Now you can take that two ways: be self-reliant or be selfish. But neither of those is what Kennedy was talking about at all.
Kennedy was saying that each of us has a responsibility to contribute to the community, but Cal Thomas ignores that, and instead he equates liberty with financial security.
Thomas wrote; “Liberty is mainly individual: liberty from debt; liberty from dependence on others; liberty to make personal choices and not be dictated to by government.”
Tell that to the recent college graduates who are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of college loans, but who can’t find a job because conservative Republicans thought it was a profitable idea to send all the manufacturing jobs overseas.
Tell that to the young people who can’t afford to move out on their own because they can’t get a decent paying job.
Tell that to the people who lost their jobs because of the Reagan era government incentives that made it so profitable for manufacturers to export jobs to low-wage countries, especially China.
At the same time, Chinese government policy had created artificially low wages in China, which made China an attractive location for manufacturers looking to increase profits by decreasing labor costs.
Other countries in Southeast Asia followed that model, and manufacturing in the United States collapsed.
So contrary to what Cal Thomas wants you to believe, conservative policies have not given Americans freedom from debt, freedom from dependence on others, or freedom from government dictates.
In fact, conservative policies have done the exact opposite. Conservative policies increased debt for Americans, increased our dependence on others, and increased government dictates.
Thanks to conservatives, the American middle-class is shrinking; the gap between the richest Americans and the poorest Americans is growing; and more and more people have to rely on government programs just to make ends meet.
Maybe it’s time for conservatives to be a little less selfish.