The Façade Of Heroism Discusses The Presidency Of John F. Kennedy; His Successes And Failures, And That His Success Resulted More From Inspirational Demeanor Than True Talent.

1204 words - 5 pages

Since the beginning of the glorious post-World War II days to the dawn of the revolutionary 1960's, the United States had been led by an uninspiring, "ordinary" farmer who had led the country into yet another war, and a seemingly incompetent general primarily described as "grandfatherly," who had accomplished the better half of nothing in his eight years in office. Additionally, despite the continuing economic boom, the obsequious societal tension produced by the enduring Cold War, the escalating civil rights movement, and the alienation of the "Other America" helped to cultivate a nation in great need of hope and inspiration as it entered the tumultuous era of the 1960's. It was such a scenario which John F. Kennedy faced upon his presidential inauguration on January 20th, 1961; one which Kennedy's presence would, over the course of his three years in office, help to simplify. However, though his positive effects upon the country are undeniable, these effects resulted more from Kennedy's inspirational demeanor, rather than his lacking in both leadership skills and "presidential" character.In his Character Above All article concerning Kennedy's presidency, Richard Reeves repeatedly compares Kennedy's character to that which the great Franklin D. Roosevelt displayed during his career. This is a fairly presumptuous thing to do, given the height to which history has rightly elevated Roosevelt - the conqueror of depression and war, who's mere image carried the ability to move citizens to tears in inspiration. However, Kennedy undeniably carried on some of Roosevelt's legacy as an inspiration; where Roosevelt inspired with blind optimism and courage, Kennedy inspired with seemingly youthful vigor. He was, after all, the youngest president to date, and his similarly youthful and intellectual cabinet, classic good looks, and beautiful family restored spirit in a dejected public, convinced that a young man of great ability and progressive ideals sat in the Oval Office. A testament to just how high in opinion the public held him was its enthusiastic approval when, after Kennedy's assassination, a media ploy equated the late president to the wise, just, and courageous King Arthur.This ability to inspire such confidence was truly a valuable and admirable attribute; one that contributed greatly to Kennedy's widespread approval - however, one could argue that is was the only leadership quality of Kennedy's that contributed to his success. The story of his lack of leadership can best be told around his New Frontier - an overly-ambitious program that highlighted Kennedy's lack of good judgment when it promised the end of racial discrimination, federal aid in education, Medicare for the elderly, and the cessation of the current economic recession. After serving three years of his intended four in office, Kennedy had managed to avoid encouraging any legislation in any of the latter areas, let alone make recognizable progress; that is, of course, except with civil...

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