All kinds of images of John Fitzgerald Kennedy appeared on the television screen during the past week as the county celebrated the inauguration of Barack Obama as the most recent president of the United States.

All kinds of images of John Fitzgerald Kennedy appeared on the television screen during the past week as the county celebrated the inauguration of Barack Obama as the most recent president of the United States.

Democratic leaders, whether they despise or admire the Kennedys, link themselves to the 35th president for a reason.

Perhaps they liken themselves to the late president because he was a bright and shining star shooting across the darkened skies and didn't have time to burn out completely. His assassination allowed the works that he did to loom larger than life.

A picture of Kennedy that flashed on the screen triggered a memory almost forgotten. As soon as I saw that particular profile of Kennedy, I thought of a little pink and blue sweater with a gold medallion attached.

I was having a flashback to a gift, no doubt presented to me by my mother.

Mom, a political enthusiast and a diehard Democrat, was a huge fan of Kennedy. The fact that he was Irish didn't hurt, either; she is of Native American and Celtic descent.

My grandmother, her mother, spoke English without a trace of an accent until she became aggravated or playful and then the Irish brogue was ever-present.

I know the pink and blue sweater did not come from my father's family, who are as passionate about the Republican Party as my mother is about the Democratic Party.

My mother and father came from two entirely different backgrounds. Not only did my family fight the Holy Wars in our living room, I am also a product of mixed religions, but political battles never ceased between Mom and Grandpa Wogan.

No wonder I abhor politics and roll my eyes when the subject surfaces.

Of course, it might also have something to do with the fact that the early part of my career led me to Washington, D.C.

I shudder to think of it.

I wasn't long for heading to Wyoming after that experience, I can tell you.

I wanted to put as much distance as possible between people -- politicians in particular -- and me.

House me on a mountaintop in Wyoming with food airlifted in about once a month and I am at my most content.

A friend of mine, with extreme opposite views to those of my mother, insists on calling to talk politics. She starts off talking about journalism, culture, religion or travel to suck me into the conversation, but invariably she will bring up politics.

Half the time, the telephone is lying on the tabletop as she yammers, while I am in another room of the house folding clothes or scrubbing the toilet.

If she talks to me about politics in person, she is quicker at picking up on the cues. My eyes flash with irritation and then as they begin to narrow, she knows she has pushed the subject too far and backs off. I have told her over and over that I hate politics.

Am I aware of what is going on in the political arena in the United States and the world? Yes. I am probably more aware than most. I read and I listen to multiple sources, but that does not mean I want to discuss it. I am too much like my father for that.

A close friend of mine is a judge. When we first met, we were not on friendly terms. He thought I had air between the ears and I thought he did for thinking it.

One day, he initiated a political debate with a dear friend of mine, a doctor who happens to take a completely different view of politics than does the judge. As soon as the discussion began, I slipped out of the room. I did not want to be party to an inflammatory situation.

Several minutes passed and when I returned, the debate was in full force.

"Are you two still going at it?" I asked.

"Cathy, tell him," said the doctor, trying to get me to uphold his side in the political debate.

The doctor and I are both Irish Catholic, so he assumed we are both of the same political views.

"Don't drag me into this dog fight because you will lose," I said.

"You could not possibly agree with him," he said in absolute horror.

"If you force me, I will tell you what I really think," I said.

He forced it and the next thing I knew, we were entangled in a bitter argument and I countered every issue he brought up.

The judge thought it was hysterical and quickly took me under his wing.

Fortunately, I maintained my friendship with the doctor, which is a good thing because I adore him. I also admire the fact that he did not easily give in to the judge.

Despite my distaste for politics, I have a fondness for JFK. It may have nothing to do with his political views and everything to do with the fact that he was our first Irish Catholic president, and I was given a pink and blue sweater to commemorate it.

The sweater was made with something as soft as eyelash yarn. Each time I slipped it over my head, I felt like I was being embraced by a litter of kittens without the claws.

On one side of the medallion was the profile of Kennedy that I saw on television the other day and on the other side was his statement, "Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country."

I liked that speech.

Theodore "Ted" Sorensen is a wordsmith like none other. He helped to make the president look great and sound wise beyond his years.

I must have been about 6, which would have been after Kennedy was killed, when my mother bought the sweater.

At that time, I didn't know about speechwriters. I thought those lovely words came from the president.

The stimulating words on a gold medallion attached to a pretty, soft, comfortable sweater developed my appreciation for the man my mother adored. Now that I think about it, she was probably trying to indoctrinate me.

I wish I still had that pretty pink and blue sweater. It would be worth something today. But the true value cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

People like my mother, my grandfather, my best friend, the judge and the doctor have an interest in issues, issues that are important enough for them to take a stance.

Then there are folks like my father and me, who have an interest, but do not wish to argue about our beliefs.

Thomas Jefferson, in his inaugural address said, "But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle." He was another man with a great speechwriter.

Cathy Wogan is a staff writer for ThisWeek Community Newspapers.

Cathy Wogan