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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Senator John Kerry Receives Distinguished American Award

Kerry speaks on U.S. foreign and domestic policy last week at JFK Library
John Kane III
Kerry speaks on U.S. foreign and domestic policy last week at JFK Library

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry received the Distinguished American Award in a ceremony held at the John F. Kennedy Library on Monday, February 28.

The award has been given since 1991 by the JFK foundation to commend Americans whose service to society has been outstanding. John Kerry accepted the award, presented to him via a phone call by fellow senator Edward Kennedy, in front of a packed auditorium.

Following the presentation, Kerry took some time to engage the audience with a relaxed conversation on domestic, foreign, and personal issues.

The senator was nostalgic about his unrealized bid for the presidential office this past November, beginning his speech as if it was his inauguration day and joking, “I John Kerry solemnly swear.”

He continued, referencing the support of his wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry.

“Teresa would have been a brilliant first lady,” said Kerry.

Kerry maintained that President George W. Bush had won the presidency by a very narrow gap, and he smiled when mentioning that his own efforts had won ten million more votes than former Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Kerry took time to thank all those who supported him and stated, “I am blessed to serve,” and, “I will continue to fight for my goals.”

Kerry further referenced a recent trip to the Middle East where he met with world leaders such as the French president, Jacques Chirac, and Germany’s chancellor, Gerard Schroeder, to discuss the current conflicts in Israel and Iraq, as well as tensions in Iran, which is providing him with perspective on current events.

The senator gave a four-point formula for American success in war-torn Iraq.

Kerry’s points included establishing free elections, providing sufficient training to Iraqi troops, delivering basic services to the population, and bringing the international community to the table for the necessary political reconciliations.

Kerry also weighed in on North Korea. “The President is not using the right diplomatic effort,” he said, continuing that in order to reach a true resolution of the situation and bi-lateral talks with Kin Jung Il’s regime are a necessary addition to the failed six party talks.

On the domestic front, Kerry praised the resiliency of the United States.

“We’re still the most remarkable country on the face of the planet,” said the senator.

However, when asked whether he thought the U.S. economy had stabilized, Kerry was not as optimistic.

“Washington is indifferent to the situation,” said the senator.

Kerry spoke further of the need for “a new call to service,” alluding to the militancy of the 1960s and ’70s, and encouraging the audience to become active.

“What brought me to politics was the sense that we could change things, there is something for everyone to do,” said the senator.

Inevitably, a member of the audience surfaced the question of whether Kerry would attempt to once again secure the Democratic nomination for presidency in 2008.

Without hesitation, the Massachusetts senator, who just six months before was the toast of the Boston-based Democratic National Convention, submitted that it is too early to gage his intentions.

Kerry continued that for now his efforts are better served elsewhere.

“We’re focusing first in 2006,” he said of his hopes to elect more Democrats in the Senate while still “finding a middle ground” to work with his Republican counterparts.