06 June 2008

Remembering RFK

Every time I think about how the course of American history would be different if Robert Kennedy had been elected president in 1968, I can't help but cry. RFK was probably the last best hope for America, and he was tragically stolen from us forty years ago today. How would America be different today if Bobby had entered the white house instead of. . . Nixon? Would we be in the same trouble we're currently facing as a nation? Of course it is impossible to know for sure, but I imagine that we would be living in a better world if he had lived.

Last March I read a book that I highly recommend picking up if you are interested in learning more about the vision of RFK. It's called Robert Kennedy: His Life by Evan Thomas. It's a bit dense, but definitely worth the time. Thomas is thorough in his research and offers a balanced look at the life and times of RFK. After reading it, I felt like he was my long lost political twin: he was so dedicated to eradicating poverty and fighting for civil rights for all groups. He was also a relentless self-improver. But beyond that, I felt like we also shared many negative qualities. He was very moody; at one campaign appearance he would be energized and have a great rapport with the crowd. At the next, he would be shy and withdrawn. His behavior was completely dictated by his mood. And he, too, had a bad habit of taking on way more than he could handle.

This weekend, do something to remember RFK. Pick up a copy of Thirteen Days, his memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, or one of the many books written about him. Watch Bobby, the 2006 film about the day he was assassinated. Or honor his memory by doing something good for humanity.

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