They are two Democratic politicians best known by their initials: JFK and AOC. That’s where the similarities end.
If you need a primer on the differences between the two, just look at two speeches those respective politicians gave 22,770 days apart.
The first was from President John Kennedy at his inaugural on Jan. 20, 1961. You probably know the words by heart: “And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
The second, far-less-familiar address was given on the floor of the House of Representatives on May 25, 2023, by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The words may be unfamiliar, but the general sentiment is one with which a new generation of Democrats is all too well acquainted:
“I ask you to think about the last time a person said — has said in this country that the government does too much for them.”
Yes, that was Ocasio-Cortez’s contribution to the debt ceiling debate: Ask not what you can do for your country, but ask why the heck your government isn’t doing everything for you.
AOC: “I ask you…think about the last time a person has said in this country that the government does too much for them…When was the last time anyone has heard or seen that?!” pic.twitter.com/XkFt7eOJaY
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 25, 2023
Talk about a rant that would make JFK roll in his grave.
AOC’s full remarks, it’s worth noting, were no less infuriating: Despite the fact the reason we’re having this debt ceiling debate is that President Joe Biden’s administration, enabled by Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, has spent taxpayers’ money like a drunken poker player, our skyrocketing national debt is actually the Republicans’ fault.
“What this debt ceiling debate really is about is the fact that they have run up a bill, Republicans have run up a bill, that they now do not want to pay,” the congresswoman said.
“They have run up this bill with extremely excessive military spending, they have run up this bill with extraordinary tax cuts for the wealthiest people in this country. And now when it comes down to — time to pay for this bill, they do not want to pay it. And not only that, but they are accusing Democrats of saying we spent too much.”
Actually, we’re not accusing Democrats of saying they’re spending too much, we’re accusing them of spending too much, period — to the tune of a $31.4 trillion national debt.
And while the fiscal continence of the Donald Trump and George W. Bush administrations raised the ire of many a conservative, their budgets had nothing on Biden’s exorbitant infrastructure boondoggles, or his stalled attempt to forgive hundreds of billions in unpaid student loan debt, inter alia.
Don’t tell that to AOC, however: “For anyone who wants to entertain that thought” that the Biden administration is spending too much, “I ask you to think about the last time a person said in this country that the government does too much for them. That their Social Security check was too high. That teachers are paid too much. When was the last time anyone … has heard or seen that?”
For the record, I just checked Twitter less than 15 minutes ago and saw at least a few posts about dysfunctional teachers unions and the specter of Social Security insolvency. So the answer is: not even a quarter of an hour.
And apparently, AOC didn’t pay attention when former President Ronald Reagan correctly identified the nine most horrifying words in the English language: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
To her — and to other modern Democrats — the more America has to suck at the teat of the federal government, the better.
But, perhaps more importantly, comparing Ocasio-Cortez’s words Thursday with Kennedy’s inaugural address is an object lesson in just how much America has changed in 62 years — and, in particular, how much the values of the Democratic Party have shifted:
In fact, going through the transcript of Kennedy’s inaugural gives one a nightmare vision of what a revised version of it, delivered by AOC if (heaven forfend) she ever wins the presidency, might entail.
Despite burrowing into a deep pit of emotional despair at the mere contemplation of the notion, I think I came away with a fairly accurate hypothetical of what the JFK inaugural reboot would sound like in Ocasio-Cortez’s hands. See if you agree:
JFK, 1961: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
AOC, 2032: “Let every nation know, even if it quite rightly wishes us ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden — provided it doesn’t involve repaying our student loans — and meet any hardship to atone for our white, colonialist privilege.”
JFK, 1961: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
AOC, 2032: “If a free society cannot eliminate the rich and make the whole lot of you poor, it cannot save the racket career politicians like myself have going. Wait, did I just say that out loud?”
JFK, 1961: “So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.”
AOC, 2032: “So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that everyone who didn’t vote for me and opposes my policies is a misogynist racist who wants to see me dead.”
JFK, 1961: “Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
AOC, 2032: “Finally, we need to, like, stop cow farts.”
I think I got pretty close, no?
So, in conclusion, this is the ethos of 2023: Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what AOC and the Democrats can get your country to do for you — provided, of course, you fork over a very sizable chunk of your hard-earned income to the inefficient, bumbling bureaucratic state she and her ilk want to empower.
Oh, JFK, where art thou when we need you?
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