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Ike’s dream for us

Jim Maxson, Minot

In January of 1961, I was in the eighth grade in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. A new president had just been elected. A Republican president was being replaced by a Democratic president.

It was not a perfect world then either. The Southeast conference was not yet integrated. That did not happen until I was a sophomore in college. No good black athletes in Alabama or Mississippi? The Washington Redskins of the NFL, for the first time ever, would have a football player on their roster later that year of African descent.

It would be six more years before the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed state statutes against inter-racial marriage. That said, in January of 1961, President Eisenhower gave a farewell address that reflected a spirit which I hope to see replicated by a U.S. president before I pass away.

Ike stated in a televised address to the nation, on the threshold of the Kennedy inauguration, that America “must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”

America is a free country. We can ignore Ike, or we can act out his vision. What is more self-destructive than hatred? What is more debilitating than fear? What is weak about love?

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