Obama’s message similar to JFK’s, deserves leader’s recognition

The 2008 Texas Primary Election has landed in the Lone Star State and Texas voters can finally play a pivotal role in a presidential nominating contest.

Who would have thought, even two months ago, that George W. Bush’s home state and last bastion of passionate support would be so crucial in picking his successor?

The Democratic primary is especially tight (forgive me Mike Huckabee), and one of our favorite honorary Horned Frogs, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Jim Wright, has thrown his Cowtown weight behind Sen. Hillary Clinton. While Wright’s endorsement may or may not significantly impact the results of the election, his opinion is bound to be considered deeply by all TCU students who have taken his class, and/or admire his years of faithful public service. Upon hearing of Wright’s endorsement of Clinton, I immediately recalled an encounter three years ago when I asked him, of all the presidents he had the opportunity to know and work with, which president did he most admire? He replied without hesitation – John F. Kennedy.

Recently, former President Kennedy’s brother, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and his daughter, Caroline Kennedy, endorsed Clinton’s rival, Sen. Barack Obama.

Caroline Kennedy wrote a compelling New York Times opinion column titled “A President like My Father.” In the column, she describes America’s yearning for a visionary leader who can call us all to a higher purpose, a visionary not dissimilar to her late father. Those closest to the former president see in Obama that same intangible quality that JFK possessed – an ability to inspire a new generation of Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” or in Obama’s case, to see that “we are the change that we’ve been waiting for.”

JFK sought to harness the idealism of a new generation and renew America’s sense of pride and duty during the genesis of the Cold War and the civil-rights era. Obama seeks to re-engage dispirited Americans in order to show them politics can be constructive and relevant.

Forty-eight years have passed since the inauguration of JFK, and the world has changed dramatically in many ways since 1960. Yet, strolling around America today, one cannot help but notice that the political narrative of 2008 is shaping up to be remarkably similar to the one written by JFK decades ago. The enthusiasm is equally palpable, and the time is comparably urgent. Wright’s support for Clinton is rational and justified in many ways. Clinton has undeniably strong political credentials, and she would be a steady hand and competent administrator.

Yet, I hope Wright will ultimately recognize that JFK’s “new frontier” is being reincarnated in the 21st century, and a new generation is eager to answer the call to unite and serve. I believe our time has come, and I hope that the faithful heroes of the political past, such as Wright, will join Obama and the stewards of the political future to chart a progressive frontier for change.

Brian Young is a junior political science major from Friendswood.