Death Of A Statesman–1968

Today is the day we acknowledge a couple of historic events…..1944–D-Day Landing and 1968–assassination of Robert Kennedy…..I am sure lots of bloggers will be writing on the anniversary of the Landing so I will leave that for better minds….Me?  I want to talk about RFK.

I was serving my first tour in Vietnam when I got the news of the assassination….a bummer….we all knew that RFK would beat the pants off Nixon and we would have a good, descent person as prez….but all that was cut short in LA…….,

In April of 1968 the leader of the civil rights movement MLK was assassinated in Memphis and I knew that whole country would erupt into violence and such…..and I was right….It did….with the exception of Indianapolis and it was quiet for one reason….RFK against all advice from handlers and local police wanted to go into the inner city and talk to the people……..he did just that and gave a speech that he wrote which pissed off his speech writers because it was a better speech than any of them could have written……

Read it for yourself……..

Ladies and Gentlemen – I’m only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening. Because…

I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.

For those of you who are black – considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible – you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization – black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

(Interrupted by applause)

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, yeah that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love – a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it’s not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

(Interrupted by applause)

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Robert F. Kennedy – April 4, 1968

Re-read that speech……and again and again……..

Now ask yourself…do you see anybody in politics today making such a speech?  Ted Cruz?  Rick Perry?  Rand Paul?  Pick a politician and ask yourself if they are capable of being a statesman…..the answer will most likely be….NO!

Our politicians today are clowns that perform for the camera….country is only secondary and used as a political prop.  When we lost Bobby we lost a true statesman…..a statesman the likes we may NEVER see again.  Bobby had moral compass that is sadly missing in today’s political world……HE IS MISSED!


2 thoughts on “Death Of A Statesman–1968

  1. I remember that speech. Oddly enough I too was doing a tour of duty in Vietnam when he was assassinated, though I was actually on R&R at the time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I got the information first from a taxi driver who I flagged down to carry me to another district of the city. I just shook my head and thought, “they got him too”.

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