RFK: Was It Worse In The 60's?
Updated: Aug 16, 2020
Robert F. Kennedy: Ann, it was the same, and it was different. We have made progress, and that’s what the fuss is all about. Those who want to control need people to follow them, and, until Trump, peons were in short supply.
What he has tapped into is much like what happened with my aborted run for president, loathe though I am to admit it. People hungry, ignored and abandoned with nothing to lose strike out however they can. It pains me to recognize the similarities, but there it is.
The intriguing difference here is that now those so afflicted are from two different segments of society and have been set against each other by this administration. The whites feel the blacks should bear the brunt of economic distress because they were here first, and let’s face it, it’s easier to strike out at the already downtrodden. The blacks have had it with the half a loaf that keeps getting crammed down their throats. The result, however is much the same, i.e. the loss of generosity and compassion disintegrating into slogans and violence.
That is where anyone reading this comes in. We must live by example, we must impose on ourselves the compassion that many in our current government have left behind. Unfortunately, this administration is hoping for a way to maneuver conflict between he two down-and-out groups after which they hope to be the only men - and by that I mean white men - standing.
And it could work. In its way it is a brilliant political strategy. Point the two major disenfranchised groups at each other, have them create mayhem on the streets and then step in with the military and crown the ones that work for you while continuing to abuse them, and destroy everyone else in your path. Meanwhile consolidate power in your own hands.
Sounds like a winning strategy doesn’t it? And it may be, who can tell, for many people have many decisions to make before the outcome can be known.
I am, however, hopeful because now many of us have worked in an integrated society. We see diverse faces on TV, in grocery stores, at work, on milk cartons, and in every walk of life. Once seen, really seen, a person or a group cannot be unseen.
Most of us have raised our children to believe in a just and equitable society, and if Black Lives Matter is any indication, we now seem to have the hearts and the guts to stand up and be counted.
Biden and Harris can give these people real representation and begin to channel their explosive energy into legislative reforms for those in each of these seemingly opposing groups. The first reform must be to prevent a rogue president and party from being able to exploit powers that they don’t have because of the compliance of their enabling and complicit comrades. We must not allow the government to be stolen, co-opted and sold to the highest bidder.
It is time for honorable men and women to stand up and not only be counted but be noticed so that those looking for leaders can see that there is a way forward which is honorable and humane. It is not too late.
This country is in the throes of great revolution created on the backs of those in the 60’s who fought for – and won - a more just society. We have made good choices in our candidates, and, more, we have lifted other leaders to national attention.
But make no mistake, much harm has been done, and revolution is painful and violent. Further, it will take time and patience to effect substantive change.
Then it is that real leadership will be needed to keep us steady on the long slog out of the swamp that has been stewing for many years. Many in both parties have fallen victim to the siren song of money and corruption that wears their neighbor’s face.
We will not know who is on first for some time, but if we press on, we can move this country forward, not just from the progress solidified after 60’s, but from the newer perils of the fomenting of violence and racial division among disadvantage people.
Do not forget that we have made progress. John Lewis could not have been elected to Congress in 1968, nor served as he did as a beacon of light, power, and decency. His example remains with us now to guide us through these challenging times.
The world is not static. We are fighting to move further up the spiral toward a people-centered government. We are a contentious lot and will fight among ourselves every step of the way, but his time the very real prospect of our democracy sliding into fascist hands will make the center hold.
It is not the 60’s; it is better. This time more of us know what we are fighting for, and in time others will come with us if we do not give in to hatred and fear. New leaders are arising, and there are many of them, thank God. There is no one voice that will save us, we must all speak out, and I greet that happening with a joyful heart.
August 16, 2020