But if there is one thing that President Kennedy stood for that touched the most profound feelings of young people around the world, it was the belief that idealism, high aspirations, and deep convictions are not incompatible with the most practical and efficient of programs – that there is no basic inconsistency between ideals and realistic possibilities, no separation between the deepest desires of heart and of mind and the rational application of human effort to human problems.
Make gentle the life of this world
To say that the future will be different from the present is, to scientists, hopelessly self-evident. I observe regretfully that in politics, however, it can be heresy. It can be denounced as radicalism or branded as subversion. There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed.
Make gentle the life of the world
Wise policy is setting priorities – differentiating between that which is merely important and that which is truly essential. And it would be both callous and self-indulgent for those of us who sit comfortably at home to form policy without full knowledge and consciousness of the costs to others, young men and women and children, whose lives turn on the abstractions of our discussion.