John F. Kennedy Inspirational Quotes, October 21, 1960

The point of all this is: This is a struggle in which we are engaged. We want peace. We want freedom. We want security. We want to be stronger. We want freedom to gain. But I don’t believe, in these changing and revolutionary times, this administration has known that the world is changing, has identified itself with that change.

I think the Communists have been moving with vigor. Laos, Africa, Cuba – all around the world they’re on the move. I think we have to revitalize our society. I think we have to demonstrate to the people of the world that we are determined in this free country of ours to be first – not first “if” and not first “but” and not first “when” but first.

And when we are strong, and when we are first, then freedom gains. Then the prospects for peace increase. Then the prospects for our security gain.

I didn’t say we had the worst education in the world. What I said was that 10 years ago we were producing twice as many scientists and engineers as the Soviet Union, and today they’re producing twice as many as we are and that this affects our security around the world.

And fourth, I believe that the polls and other studies and votes in the United Nations and anyone reading the paper and any citizen of the United States must come to the conclusion that the United States no longer carries the same image of a vital society, on the move, with its brightest days ahead as it carried a decade or two decades ago.

Part of that is because we’ve stood still here at home. Because we haven’t met our problems in the United States. Because we haven’t had a moving economy.

In addition, I believe the next President in January and February should go to work in building the strength of the United States. The Soviet Union does understand strength. “We arm to parley,” Winston Churchill said 10 years ago. If we are strong, particularly as we face a crisis over Berlin, which we may in the spring or in the winter, it’s important that we maintain our determination here, that we indicate that we’re building our strength, that we are determined to protect our position, that we’re determined to protect our commitments, and then I believe we should indicate our desire to live at peace with the world.

…if we become known as the friend of freedom, sustaining freedom, helping freedom, helping these people in the fight against poverty and ignorance and disease, helping them build their lives, I believe in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, eventually in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, certainly in Western Europe, we can strengthen freedom, we can make it move, we can put the Communists on the defensive.

And if we fail, the cause of freedom fails. I believe it incumbent upon the next President of the United States to get this country moving again, to get our economy moving ahead, to set before the American people its goals, its unfinished business, and then throughout the world appoint the best people we can get, ambassadors who can speak the language, not merely people who made a political contribution, but who can speak the language, bring students here, let them see what kind of a country we have.

And I believe that if we can get a party which believes in movement, which believes in going ahead, then we can reestablish our position in the world, strong in defense, strong in economic growth, justice for our people, guarantee of constitutional rights, so that people will believe that we practice what we preach.

I want people all over the world to look to the United States again, to feel that we’re on the move, to feel that our high noon is in the future. I want Mr. Khrushchev to know that a new generation of Americans who fought in Europe, in Italy, in the Pacific for freedom in World War II have now taken over in the United States, and that they’re going to put this country back to work again. I don’t believe that there is anything this country cannot do. I don’t believe there’s any burden or any responsibility that any American would not assume to protect his country, protect our security, to advance the cause of freedom. And I believe it incumbent upon us now to do that.

See “FACE-TO-FACE, NIXON-KENNEDY” VICE PRESIDENT RICHARD M. NIXON AND SENATOR JOHN F. KENNEDY FOURTH JOINT TELEVISION-RADIO BROADCAST, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1960, ORIGINATING ABC, NEW YORK, N.Y., ALL NETWORKS CARRIED