The late John F. Kennedy’s contribution to politics was cut short when he was assassinated in 1963, nearly three years into his presidency. But his only grandson John “Jack” Schlossberg might just be there to carry on his legacy.
“I’m inspired by my family’s legacy of public service. It’s something that I’m very proud of,” Schlossberg said. “But I’m still trying to make my own way and figure things out. So stay tuned — I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
He may not be sure if an official political career is in his future, but Schlossberg certainly has direction — with a spot at Harvard Law ahead of him.
He also served on the committee that chose the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award — an honor that has been given since 1989 to someone who shows an act of political courage. This year, the prize goes to former President Barack Obama. He will receive it this weekend, as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth.
“In 2008, I was inspired by President Obama’s vision for America and all the promises that he laid out for our country,” Schlossberg said of the committee’s decision to honor the former president. “This award really recognizes that he made tough choices over the last 8 years to execute on that vision — to give people health care, to get serious about climate change, and to reach out to international partners and really improve America’s standing in the world. And that takes political courage.”
“I think we’re seeing today it’s pretty easy to criticize without offering solutions,” he continued. “And President Obama did not do that. He really had the courage to govern responsibly.”
Kennedy echoed her son, telling Today anchors Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie that she was “thrilled” with the choice. “There are many types of courage and he demonstrated more than one of those,” she said.
“This award is about encouraging people to both require it in our public officials and look for ways that we can be more courageous in our own lives. All of us. Doing what’s right is something we need a lot more of,” she explained.
While there has certainly been a backlash against politics and government in recent years, Kennedy — a former ambassador to Japan — still thinks that it’s a noble calling and that President Obama has inspired people in the same ways that her father had.
“I have great respect for people who dedicate themselves to public service,” she explained. “I think that we’re seeing now how important it is. More and more young people are willing to do community service but they don’t necessarily see politics as the way to solve problems.”
“President Obama really brought in a new generation just like President Kennedy did,” she added. “Certainly the generation that was inspired by my father transformed this country in civil rights, the peace core space, etc. And I think that the generation that president Obama brought into public life, my children among them, are going to go on to do great things.”
So does that mean that Kennedy would like to see Schlossberg get into politics? “I love my son Jack, I’d support whatever decision he makes,” she said.
Schlossberg had the same feelings when asked if he’d like to see his mom in politics. “I will support my mother in anything she does, I love her so much,” he said. “But that’s her decision, I’ll leave it at that.”
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While both are remain coy about their futures, Schlossberg did reveal that he’s still inspired by his grandfather’s words — and thinks his generation would be too.
“My favorite speech of his is his speech she gave at Rice University explaining to America we should go to the moon,” Schlossberg confessed. “And in that speech he said that great challenges are actually great opportunities. I think that’s a really important thing to remember today for my generation when it seems like things couldn’t be any worse and we’re going to inherit a world where’s there’s a lot of unsolved problems.”
“When it seems like things couldn’t be any worse, it’s important to remember those are opportunities and we can rise to the occasion if we choose good leadership,” he said.
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