Former U.S. President Barack Obama received JFK’s profile in Courage award on Sunday during an event marking John F. Kennedy’s day held at John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.
During the occasion, Obama reiterated hope that the congress will look beyond party lines when considering the future of the United States healthcare system.
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The Democrat’s remarks at the ceremony in Boston where he accepted the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s “Profile in Courage” Award came days after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the 2010 law that enabled 20 million more Americans to get health insurance.
The 44th president was joined at the gala by a host of former administration officials, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy.
Referring to former President John F. Kennedy’s book on political courage, he noted that many members of Congress risked and ultimately lost their seats when they voted for Obamacare, which helped give rise to the conservative Tea Party movement.
“I have said before that I believe what Dr. King said — that the arc of the moral universe bends, but it bends towards justice,” Obama said. “I have also said that it does not bend on its own, but it bends because we bend it, and we put our hand on the arc and we move it in the direction of justice and freedom and equality and kindness and generosity. It does not happen on its own.”
The JFK’s Profile in Courage award takes its name from Kennedy’s 1957 book profiling eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking politically unpopular stands. Kennedy, a Democrat, was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. The 100th anniversary of his birth will be commemorated on May 29.
Other distinguished men of honor who have received JFK’s Profile in Courage award include Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, Senator John McCain, former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt, former Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and former U.S. Rep. Carl Elliott Sr, U.S. Rep. and civil rights leader John Lewis and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, among others.
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