A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
Fifty-two years ago this June 5th – on a sunny Friday just like this in 1968 – the world woke up to the news that U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy had been shot in the early morning of that day following what had been a joyous campaign gathering in Los Angeles, California.
In the early morning hours of the following day, June 6th, 1968, he was pronounced dead,
By 1968, Robert Kennedy or Bobby as many preferred to call him, had become a powerful voice for peace and for economic and racial justice and one can only imagine how much better his country and the world would be today had he, who was running for president that year, won, as it appeared he might do.
I thought of Bobby again in recent weeks as the world watched the current occupant of the White House threaten to militarize the streets of America to push away mostly young black, white and brown people protesting the murder of another African American at the hands of the police.
I thought about him when the world turned on their screens this past June 1st to disturbing scenes one might expect to see in a totalitarian state of heavily armed troops wielding shields and using chemical agents and exploding projectiles to clear a park of peaceful protesters so that the orange-face monster could do a photo op, holding a Bible he has probably never taken to heart lead a alone read, in front of a historic church that the preachers inside were outraged to see him use like a stage for a political ad.
I thought of Bobby, not so much for the anniversary of his assassination, but for an address he gave to a gathering of people and to his nation on April 4th, 1968 after learning that American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated earlier that day.
What a contrast that address was to the angry, divisive garbage coming out of the mouth of a small man who does not have the capacity to speak words of a healing nature.
To watch and hear Bobby Kennedy deliver what many political historians still consider one of the most moving speeches of the last 100 years, click on the screen below –
Here is some of the text from that speech –
“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.”
Bobby Kennedy died on June 6th, 1968 at the age of 42.
To visit a commentary I posted on Niagara At Large on the 45th anniversary of the speech, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2013/04/05/a-few-great-words-spoken-on-the-night-american-civil-rights-leader-martin-luther-king-was-assassinated-45-years-ago-this-april-4th/
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