Kennedy Class (Ex-President of the USA)

by Mazhar Iqbal

Class is unique energy within a human being that makes him truly unforgettable. The Kennedy class of a person is easy to recognize but at the same time, it’s harder to define.

The class can be expressed by achievement in the material world—for you and also for others attached to you. The most admirable quality of the class is the ability to create success for others.

Like a great athlete, a class person always plays the game at a high level by making better players of his or her teammates as well.

The class was never defined clearly in American history before the first presidential debate which took place on September 26, 1960, between John F. Kennedy & Richard M. Nixon.

The class was a huge factor in this debate. It made a difference in winning the presidential seat and in a sense, it changed the course of history.

John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon both were optimistic about the election. Both had different resumes but were impressive in different ways of life. The actual positions presented by both candidates were in some aspects, similar and different in others.

The elections turned about the experience in debate. Both candidates were members of congress. Nixon tried to strengthen himself by talking about his foreign policy credentials when he was vice president.

Unlike Nixon, Kennedy had no such experience. But just Nixon was building his strength to become president, several media events took place that had a strong impact on the outcome of the election. 

Nixon’s ground of experience in foreign policy was destroyed by his own boss, Eisenhower. In a press conference in 1960, Eisenhower was asked by a correspondent about the major decisions taken by Nixon as Vice President.

Eisenhower responded by saying, “If you give me a week, I might think of one”. Although he was trying to make a joke about his own lack of focus, the remark was a godsend to Kennedy. It gave him the chance to destroy the image of Nixon about foreign policy’s experience.

Kennedy destroyed Nixon’s image with these words, “Yes, Mr. Nixon is experienced—but his experience is in the policies of retreat, defeat, and weakness.”

Nixon had been a champion debater on national TV, but Kennedy devoted a tremendous amount of time in preparation for this debate.

On other media fronts, Nixon ran into bad luck also. Kennedy performed well in the issue of Martin Luther King Jr. after his arrest in Atlanta. By this, he got favors from blacks. Nixon remained silent on this publicized event.

Kennedy used the press to cover his compassionate & charismatic image.

Later, Eisenhower supported Nixon in this presidential race. This action also destroyed the image of Nixon. People thought that Nixon looks incapable of winning the election on his own.

Combined with Nixon’s poor performance in the first debate, the Eisenhower gaffe, and triumphs by Kennedy in the media, small press-related miscalculation such as these took their toll on the Republican nominee.

Several factors contributed to Nixon’s poor image as the candidate for President of the USA. His health issues had resulted in severe weight loss.

During cutaways, Nixon was wiping the perspiration from his forehead. He looked cornered and rattled. Meanwhile, Kennedy’s class looked great & confident in front of the camera.

People who listened to the debate on the radio were considering Nixon as the next President of the USA, while people who watched this whole debate on TV considered John Kennedy as a clear winner. Because Nixon had an excellent presentation but Kennedy had an overwhelming class advantage.

What do you mean by class advantage?

It doesn’t mean that Kennedy was richer than Nixon, although Nixon was. So we have to understand the important point about the class.

Kennedy’s class advantage can be judged by his debates in which he seemed cool, calm, & in control over his expressions. The advantage which Kennedy had over Nixon was “Class”.

Actually, at the debate on TV, nothing was significant about public policy matters or foreign affairs. The issues which were discussed were irrelevant in today’s world. But what was seen by the public were the images of relaxed & confident-looking Kennedy which was clearly a class act.

A lot has been written about the first presidential debate on TV, there were three points that stand out. Everyone should give importance to these in his life and career.

You surely may be facing such a situation that Kennedy & Nixon faced about 50 years ago. These decisions may be about some procedures & technicalities but they are really something. These points are:

1-            Class

2-            The perception of class

3-            How to most effectively communicate that impression.

Both the participants in the debate on national TV had different aims. Kennedy had a positive aspect of the debate. He had very little to lose and had a chance to gain everything.

On the other hand, for Nixon, it was a constraint. He imposed this constraint upon himself. Nixon’s advisers advised him not to debate Kennedy. Nixon had something else in his mind. He felt that he can prove himself than anyone else. So all of his actions in this debate were based on insecurity rather than strength.

Remember, this is an extremely important dynamic that can affect any decision-maker, regardless of any external circumstances. If powerful people become more constrained, they may feel to prove that they deserve their power actually.

They need support & reassurance constantly which often manifests itself in a crew of yes-men. Due to this, they can head off any self-doubt.

Class does not express itself willingly. It’s always on the positive track, also a joyful choice. Even if your actions are classy in an objective, its positive effect cancels if the motivation is negative.

You should be very clear that negative motivation always reveals itself, mostly in embarrassing & unexpected ways.

There is an important link between Kennedy class & communication. People with class clearly communicate about their personality & their vision. It is not a rule that the smartest person will be the leader.

If this would be the case, then Nixon & Jimmy Carter should be the presidents of the USA during their time. Nixon had a degree of law from Duke while Carter was an electrical engineer by profession.

On the other hand, whether you agree or not, Ronald Reagan was the most popular & efficient president of the USA. He was the winner of the Cold War & was a great communicator.

He made him unforgettable by saying, “Tear down that wall”. It was not because of his academic career, it was all about what he said and how he said it.

People with class speak about the vision. Astonishingly, it’s not about what they have done in past or what will do in the future, it’s all about what they can see.

They color the picture of the future world which others can’t imagine. They always share their vision with words. Despite using statistics to prove their point, they use vivid imagery.

To be a great communicator you should have two qualities that make you distinct from others.

1-            Optimism

2-            Clarity

A pessimistic person has no class while an Optimistic person looks beyond the current situation to imagine for a better time. He does not fall into the details of when & how. These are mere details.

Secondly, a person with class share his vision with others in simple words means clarity. A scientist & a truck driver can easily understand his words & vision. His words are simple, understandable, & repeatable.

Powerful tools during your speech are phrases like I can see, I imagine, or I believe. You paint the picture of that image with your thoughts. You can understand by example that when people want to enjoy their overall productivity and general happiness, you don’t show them statistics.

None will listen with attention if you assert the importance of the development of systems & processes to steadily increase the enjoyment of people.

I believe that you are a person with class and you are going to deliver a speech. Then your speech should be like this:

“I imagine a time that’s not too far when every person who goes to work will love what he does. I can see this world. Can you imagine going to work every day and loving not only what you do and love but also the people you work with?

I see that would impact your work & your personal life. I imagine this world. It’s not impossible to create this world if we work together. Come to join me. Let me lead you.

Choose me to inspire. If you do this, I believe, we will be successful. If you lead the people around you and I lead you, then every one of us will be loving to go to work. Are you with me?”

The meaning of this speech is the same as that they choose you, but the way you have spoken it is very different.

Kennedy after being elected as president of the USA said in his inaugural address in 1961, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

This was unforgettable and it also made Kennedy class unforgettable. He did not ask his nation to follow him nor he asked us to lead. He simply challenged his nation to serve. This was an act of class by him.

Truly inspiring & classy people aren’t driven to lead people, rather they serve. A leader with class earns the loyalty & respect of those who serve them back.

If people are following you, you will be unforgettable in history. Why persons follow another person unless they feel that person will serve them and their interests? 

The more you are a person with a Kennedy class, the more persons will trust you. Not because you are a boss but because you know exactly what people need and most importantly you are determined to see that they get it.

A person with class always helps others. He does not ask others to work for him. He does not criticize, condemns, or complains. It shows appreciation, gratitude, optimism, & other positive feelings. Remembers the rule that what you say can be canceled out by how you look. He smiles in this situation.

The essential aspect of class is taking responsibility 100%.

Last but not least, it doesn’t happen itself nor it happens easily, you have the power to be a class act. You have within yourself that makes you a truly unforgettable person.


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