Ask not what your country can do for you

President Kennedy’s face hasn’t been carved into a mountain (yet), but his statement “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” may be among the most famous statements ever given by a president.

To be honest, I’ve always been a little suspicious of this idea: ask what you can do for your country.

For one thing, it feels backwards to me. The most powerful country in the world needs my help?

For another, when someone asks what you can do for them, the answer can always be: “a little more.”

After all, a little more is the least you can do.

So do it.

And then do a little more.

We can always do more, which is why I think statements like these invite corruption.

Recently, though, I admit that I’ve been looking at my neighbors and thinking that they could do a little more.

We live several blocks away from a liquor vendor. It is nice to be a short walk away from having a glass of wine or a beer with supper should the mood strike, but some of our neighbors seem to think they should throw empty liquor bottles on the street.

What can you do?

I hate to admit it, but I decided to ask myself what I could do for my country.

In this case, it meant grabbing a plastic bag and walking along one block of our community picking up empty vodka and whiskey bottles. There were too many for the bag that I took, so I’ll have to go back. Instead of taking a bigger bag next time, I’m just going to keep going out there until someone sees me “doing more.”

Maybe they’ll join in.

After all, they may be doing a lot for our community, but they can do a little more.

In fact, it’s the least they can do.

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2 Responses to “Ask not what your country can do for you”

  1. jclerch Says:

    Well done.

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