More than 50 years have passed since Kennedy spoke those immortal words, the reference then being to America’s youth.
Young John Kennedy’s ascension to the highest office in the land heralded the beginning of a new era of political activism among young people. From African-American teenagers, who began to take on an increasingly more active role in the civil rights movement, to young women who began to openly express their sexuality by burning their bras and embracing the pill.
America’s youth were also at the forefront in the battle against the Viet Nam war.
But now, with President Obama’s reelection in the face of persistent attacks by Tea Partiers and Conservative talk radio, many Americans are wondering if the torch hasn’t been passed again. By most accounts, Obama’s first election was viewed as a historic event, right up there with Kennedy’s election — him being the first Catholic president. However, there were others who saw it as an anomaly — it’ll never happen again.
But, win he did. Obama’s resounding victory over Mitt Romney last November left many of his detractors from the conservative right scratching their heads, wondering what went wrong.
What went wrong was, America has changed. Minority groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are becoming an increasingly more potent political force and will only get stronger as their percentage of the population increases. That, coupled with the formidable power of the women’s vote, has cause some of the most staunches of conservatives to rethink their strategy.
“The GOP can’t win a national election on ideology,” said Bill O’Reilly after Romney went down in defeat last November. Echoing calls by others in the more moderate wing of the Republican Party to abandon their rigid and inflexible position on some social issues like abortion and immigration, in order to appeal to a broader swath of the American electorate.
The Republican Party has also had a problem with perception. They’re viewed by some as being uncaring or mean spirited, or at the very least, out of touch; a sentiment not lost on conservative strategist and former Bush adviser Karl Rove. “Republicans must avoid appearing judgmental and callous on social issues,” Rove said, while laying out a list of proposals for remaking the Republican Party.
The fact of the matter is that America has always resisted the temptation of its citizenry to define it by a single ideology. From its condemnation and victory over the abdominal practice of slavery, to its demand that women be given equal protections under the law, she has proven time and time again that she is progressive and dynamic.
So, now that Republicans have finally realized what everybody else has known all along, what are we mere mortals to make of this sudden epiphany? Well, it’s simple really: The era of White male dominance of American politics has come to an end.
Bill O’Reilly: The Republicans need to rethink strategy
Karl Rove: Republicans Must Rethink Strategy to Succeed