The thrust of Obama’s speech condemned America as an unimaginative, prejudiced, unambitious country whose only hope lies in liberals who selflessly dedicate their lives to leading it out of the darkness.
The replica of the Senate chamber celebrated the “hard, frustrating, never-ending” war progressives wage against America on its behalf, Obama declared.
“We live in a time of such great cynicism about all our institutions. And we are cynical about government and about Washington, most of all. It’s hard for our children to see, in the noisy and too often trivial pursuits of today’s politics, the possibilities of our democracy — our capacity, together, to do big things,” Obama said. “And this place can help change that. It can help light the fire of imagination, plant the seed of noble ambition in the minds of future generations. Imagine a gaggle of school kids clutching tablets, turning classrooms into cloakrooms and hallways into hearing rooms, assigned an issue of the day and the responsibility to solve it.”
Children in America are brought up with a backwards view of the world, Obama said. Their moral universes are small and prejudiced, but progressive governing will open their minds.
“Towards the end of his life, Ted reflected on how Congress has changed over time. And those who served earlier I think have those same conversations. It’s a more diverse, more accurate reflection of America than it used to be, and that is a grand thing, a great achievement,” Obama said.
In this case, Obama is right: It’s worth reflecting on how much America has changed since 1965, and examine the effects of the legislation Kennedy promoted that brought it about.
The passage of the act marked a fundamental change in America’s immigration policy: Rather than serving the interests of Americans and national unity by setting limits on immigration, the act put “family unification” as the top priority, serving the interests of foreigners first.
“First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same…
Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset… Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia…
In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think… The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.”
How have Kennedy’s promises stood up to the passage of time?