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"Ask not what you can do for your country -- ask what you can do for your wife and kids"

Two statements, almost exactly 50 years apart:

"I do not shrink from this responsibility--I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."

-- President John F. Kennedy, Jan. 20, 1961.

"On matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women's caucus, and there is no override provision. Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more."

-- Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, May 23, 2011.

Need any proof that times -- and values -- can change? Read those two statements, one uttered by a president and one voiced by a man who just declined to run for the White House. So is it noble to chose family over country, or a sign of weakness? Like most American men of 2011, I lean toward the former, but I could be swayed.

I do think you can look at what Daniels said today and understand a lot of things about our times -- for one example, why a military draft would never be politically viable. The shielding of family members -- especially children -- from any harm or even any risk is the paramount American value. Again, that's probably as it should be. It's definitely the way it is.