Remembering Bobby Kennedy


The summer that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, 1968, I was 15.

1968 was a year of great division and anger and strife in America, and Bobby Kennedy seemed to float above it as someone who could make peace and love real, just by his presence.

One of the things that I remember about him is that people just seemed to want to touch him.

They would wait in line for hours, and stand on tiptoe just to get a glimpse of him through the crowds that surrounded him.

And when he came around, he would get out of his car, and wade right into the crowds, shaking their hands, letting them have that little brush of the fingertips… a tug on his shirt sleeve, a hand on his arm.

Blessing them with that crazy, crooked, toothy smile that emerged in spite of all the pain and sorrow he was carrying. That they were carrying, and that we were carrying, as a nation; as a people:

The war in Vietnam,

The heat and tension and despair of the ghettos,

The assassinations of his brother, President John F Kennedy, and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nevertheless, there he was;

Shaking hands with a nun in Los Angeles, surrounded by little black schoolchildren,

Working a crowd in a suit, while white-gloved women strained to just brush fingertips with him,

Meeting with farm workers on strike in Central California, in the hot noon sun…

Can you imagine, if he had lived and become President,

Can you even fathom Bobby Kennedy ever referring to people from poor countries, such as Haiti or those in Africa who want to immigrate to the United States of America because they still see us as a place of opportunity; A place of promise, a place of hope.

Can you Imagine Bobby Kennedy referring to them as “those people” coming from “those shithole countries?”

This is no Bobby Kennedy who sits now in the Oval Office.

Don’t you feel proud to be an American, tonight? With Mr.Trump’s words ringing in your ears?

Please call you senators and congresspersons tomorrow morning and demand that they move to censure Mr. Trump for his racist words.

Daniel M. Young