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How many members of Congress have read Profiles in Courage?

Originally published at Unrhetorical.

This is an unfortunately timeless paragraph from John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize winning Profiles in Courage:

“Today the challenge of political courage looms larger than ever before. For our everyday life is becoming so saturated with the tremendous power of mass communications that any unpopular or unorthodox course arouses a storm of protests such as John Quincy Adams—under attack in 1807—could never have envisioned. Our political life is becoming so expensive, so mechanized and so dominated by professional politicians and public relations men that the idealist who dreams of independent statesmanship is rudely awakened by the necessities of election and accomplishment.” (Introduction)

The very next sentence could be similarly descriptive of the situation immediately following 9/11, i.e. our war with the epithet “on Terror”:

“And our public life is becoming so increasingly centered upon that seemingly unending war to which we have given the curious epithet “cold” that we tend to encourage rigid ideological unity and orthodox patterns of thought.” (Introduction)

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