In Monday’s perhaps decisive presidential debate on foreign policy, its participants mentioned the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Had Richard M. Nixon been elected in 1960 instead of John F. Kennedy the world almost certainly could have come to an end two years later. Nixon was an insecure, neurotic man who would have sided immediately with the Joint Chiefs of Staff who – to a man – wanted to bomb Cuba the sooner the better. The Russian reaction against American bombers would have triggered a nuclear catastrophe. Kennedy was the stronger man. He withstood the pressure of the less visionary around him, and he risked the judgment of an American people freaked out over communists lurking in every closet.
It does matter who gets elected, and in recent years across this country at many levels of government the wrong men and women have been elected for as equally a potentially conclusive moment in American history – when the very concept of community is at stake. And the problem might be compounded in less than two weeks when the country votes for President. Regular readers of this blog know that its central tenet is the impact and potential of the country’s new demography. And the new demography is on par with any experience the country has faced. It is not as compelling as missiles off the coast of Florida. Rather, it is a slow-motion event not given to searing images or dramatic news footage, and it is happening against a backdrop of publicly-elected individuals who are fearful of the demographic change the country is undergoing and who certainly are no longer willing – as generations past did – to help pay for the success of the community of the future.