As Kennedy began [to speak at Kansas State U.], his voice cracked, and those near the stage noticed his hands trembling and his right leg shaking.
After praising [Al] Landon’s distinguished career, he said, “I am also glad to come to the home state of another great Kansan, who wrote, ‘If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all their youthful vision and vigor then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.’ ” …
At first he seemed tentative and wooden, stammering and repeating himself, too nervous to punctuate his sentences with gestures. But with each round of applause he became more animated. Soon he was pounding the lectern with his right fist, and shouting out his words.
Rene Carpenter watched the students in the front rows. Their faces shone, and they opened their mouths in unison, shouting, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”
Hays Gorey, of Time, called the electricity between Kennedy and the K.S.U. students “real and rare” and said that ” .. John Kennedy … himself couldn’t be so passionate, and couldn’t set off such sparks.”
Kevin Rochat was close to weeping because Kennedy was so direct and honest. He kept telling himself, My God! He’s saying exactly what I’ve been thinking! ..
Kennedy concluded by saying, “Our country is in danger: not just from foreign enemies; but above all, from our own misguided policies–and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once said was the last, great hope of mankind. There is a contest on, not for the rule of America but for the heart of America. In these next eight months we are going to decide what this country will stand for–and what kind of men we are.”
He raised his fist in the air so it resembled the revolutionary symbol on posters hanging in student rooms that year, promised “a new America,” and the hall erupted in cheers and thunderous applause.
As he started to leave, waves of students rushed the platform, knocking over chairs and raising more dust. They grabbed at him, stroking his hair and ripping his shirtsleeves. Herb Schmertz was left with a lifelong phobia of crowds. University officials opened a path to a rear exit, but Kennedy waved them off and waded into the crowd …
PrestoPundit doesn’t give the date; a transcript of the speech in the Kennedy library notes that it occurred on March 18th, 1968.
As James Piereson has noted, it’s impossible to picture JFK uttering such language himself, which illustrates how far to the left liberalism as a whole swung in less than five years after his death, and which has repercussions to this day. As I looked at the start of the month in a Silicon Graffiti video, by 1970, Radical Chic would become so prevalent that establishment liberal elites such as Leonard Bernstein would think little of holding fund raisers in his Park Ave. duplex for such fascist groups as the Black Panthers, who would quickly be supported by the Weathermen, who were founded by William Ayers, whom Sen. Obama has ties with.