>Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Clearly, I was not around at that time, but every time I read or think about this event, I sob. I weep because I believe, in my heart of hearts, that the world was robbed of someone who truly could make it a better place. Someone who inspired hope in everyone he met, except for the evil conservatives who continue to this day to exploit ethnic, gender, and class differences to enrich themselves.
Two op-eds in today's New York Times have lines that I feel perfectly encapsulate what RFK means to me. His oldest daughter, Kerry Kennedy, wrote, "My father had often quoted St. Luke, that from those who have been given much, much will be expected." He put this belief into practice, not imposing on people, but listening to what they had to say about their experiences and the life they led. Son Joseph P. Kennedy III wrote:
Robert Kennedy had a wonderful way of allowing others to tell him how the world looked through their eyes. Indeed, so many people across this nation were grateful for his belief in their worth — they knew his faith in the humanity of his fellow Americans.
We will never fully know what the full extent of Sirhan Sirhan's robbery was. Tears stream down my face as I ponder the irony of his assassination: Sirhan was angry that Kennedy supported Israel in the Six-Day War. Yet if anyone would lend an ear to his side of the story, it was RFK. By taking him away, he ensured that hardliner after hardliner would take office and support Israel's every move, no matter how it bad they may be. (And please do not forget that I believe in that Israel's existence is essential and no less improper than the formation of any other nation. Just as I live in the US and do not agree with every American policy, I also think that Israel has some pretty shitty policies in place that should be criticized and that right-wing politicians only encourage. Sorry for this obligatory digression.)
Almost 40 years to the day, Barack Obama captured the Democratic nomination for President. While I do not believe that Obama is the second coming of RFK, I cannot help but think how appropriate it is to have him as my party's Presidential candidate. He embodies so many of the things that RFK wanted to happen, and he has some of the finest of RFK's qualities. It is a lot to ask Obama to live up to the standard set by RFK, mythologized by his untimely and horrific death. But for the first time in a long time (maybe ever), I look at a national candidate, and I feel the hope that I believe people must have felt in 1968. May it come to fruition this time around.