Friday, June 6, 2008

Drop Upon Drop

I was seven years old when Robert Kennedy was murdered by a Palestinian. I remember crying with my Mom. I didn't really understand the tears but I could feeling a sense of loss. We can only speculate what our country might be like today if President Kennedy had not been assassinated and if his brother had only been given the chance to lead our country.

Whether or not one agreed with the politics of John and Robert Kennedy, they both had something in common that is sadly lacking from those today who seek the presidential nomination. They both seemed committed to doing what was best for the country while seeking justice. They seemed to know the difference between fighting for what is right. President Kennedy made missteps and the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs were the result. He also committed more troops to Vietnam. In this, he was correct. In fighting in Vietnam, the US sought to turn the tide against communism. Communism has been a scourge on this earth. His commitment to landing a man on the men before the 1960's ended led to an unprecedented explosion in technology which has led to the computer I'm using to post what i have written. He had vision.

We will never know what Robert Kennedy would have accomplished. Sirhan Sirhan took that away from us with bullets. Sirhan did so because he believed that Kennedy was "instrumental" in the "oppression" of Palestinians.

Like his brother, Robert Kennedy had the vision and knew the social responsibility of political leadership. The 1960's were a volatile time. He seemed to be able to unite people:

Kennedy was perceived by many to be the only person in American politics capable of uniting the people. He was beloved by the minority community for his integrity and devotion to the civil rights cause. After winning California's primary, Kennedy was in the position to receive the Democratic nomination and face off against Richard Nixon in the general election.

Robert Kennedy was supportive of Israel. He was a young reporter and saw first hand the injustices that were being committed against Jews by both the British and the Arabs. Some of the dispatches he wrote have come to light:

Kennedy was liberal in his praise of the Palestinian Jews (only one month later did the name "Israel" and the term "Israelis" come into being). "The Jewish people in Palestine who believe in and have been working toward this national state have become an immensely proud and determined people," Kennedy wrote. "It is already a truly great modern example of the birth of a nation with the primary ingredients of dignity and self-respect."

One of his dispatches was headlined, "Jews Make Up for Lack of Arms with Undying Spirit, Unparalleled Courage." In one of his accounts, Kennedy describes his traveling with Haganah fighters in a convoy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Robert Kennedy knew the difference between right and wrong. He worked for social justice during the Civil Rights movement and when another man of peace was assassinated, he spoke words of comfort to those in a troubled city.

We'll never know what Robert Kennedy would have done for our country. Someone filled with hate took that away from us. They same hate that exists that propels men of hate to smash commercial jet liners into office buildings filled with people. The same hate exists that men of hate to launch rockets toward malls and to become suicide bombers. I have a hunch he would have been unequivocal in denouncing such acts of violence and hatred. He knew the difference between right and wrong. He knew the pain hatred causes and because of that, he was murdered by an assassin's bullet.

Update: Some interesting posts in connection:

Kennedy That Loved Israel
June 5: The Anniversary of the First Act of Palestinian Terrorists Against the US

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