”And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, Jan. 20, 1961

WASHINGTON — Watching the Democrats’ presidential campaigns, it’s hard not to be struck by the huge gap that has opened up between Kennedy’s goal and what ordinary Americans now believe and practice. Kennedy urged us to be unselfish, but broad sectors of the American public now repudiate Kennedy’s rhetoric.

Robert J. Samuelson writes a twice-weekly column on economics for The Washington Post Writers Group.

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