Forty-three years ago today, Robert Kennedy was shot and killed as he campaigned at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
Languishing in hindsight and speculation, I will say that I believe Bobby Kennedy would have been one of the greatest President’s the United States has ever had, had he not been cut short on the campaign trail in 1968. If he’d have lived, there may have been no President Nixon, No President Ford, and maybe even no President Reagan. If his ideas and sentiments not been crushed in the following years by a vicious right winged neoliberal elite, and less eloquent and less popular and far less charismatic liberal politicians made to sound like the ramblings of archaic socialists, the World might not have had to endure thirty years plus, of the rise of the Hayekian New Right. The spirit of the ’60s was firmly shot down in 1968.
I wanted a short blog today on RFK, and a quote that I felt summed up his political philosophy, and why he remains one of my political heroes.
“Our gross national product … if we should judge America by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”