“It has always been this way.”
Ann: Senator Kennedy?
Robert Kennedy: Bobby, yes. Thanks for taking my call.
Ann: That's what it was?
Bobby: Yes. A little nudge, what my brother called “That Voice,” in your ear. And you heard correctly, “It has always been this way.”
Ann: What do you mean?
Bobby: (Smiling) Well, certainly not that there is no hope, that we are doomed to repeat and repeat with no change, no growth, and no learning from the mistakes of history and our own complicity therewith.
On the contrary, I ask you to link to Joe Biden. Early on he was complicit in the Vietnam War decision as was I, he by apathy and I more overtly. I liked to think that each of us saw the error of our ways and would have had some role in convincing others that war for war’s sake based on an ideological principal unconnected to the reality on the ground is not a solid foundation for foreign policy. Joe simply thought the war was a strategic mistake and tried to end it.
Joe also recognized the perils of appeasement in World War II, and he is trying now to chart a middle ground in Ukraine based on our country's legitimate interests. He is not haring off to the jungle to fight a war that is in fact only distantly connected to American security. In Vietnam we were in the throes of the Red Menace fantasy and felt we had to confront it on every corner of the globe regardless of those who shouldered the real burden of our idealism.
Which is my characteristically long winded way of saying that we can learn, that we can go through the same cauldron without inevitably being scalded beyond recognition as has happened in the past, and that is what Joe is doing now.
For example, the Ukraine people have taken on the primary burden for their own defense. We have stepped in to help, but theirs is the guiding force and the deciding voice. We can only do so much without risking our own security. We can stand with others to draw the line against tyranny and terror, but we cannot do it alone with only our ego and illusions to support us.
So while the human animal will always struggle with the balance between individual and community, ego and cooperation, we need not tread the same worn out path that falls into that either/or quagmire. We can instead strive for a better solution, and, under Joe's leadership, we are doing it.
We may not win, at least not for a while, but we can carry the flag a little further down the road. The current period of history is much like the 60’s when "the best lack[ed] all conviction, while the worst [were]… full of passionate intensity."** We have a leader now who has been down that road and can see around the next corner and is willing to fight his way forward. It would seem that rest of us should do no less.
Ann: He has a bust of you in the Oval Office.
Bobby: Yes, I saw that and was gratified beyond measure by the ties he sees between us. But it is not just two well know figures, one already part of the arc of history and the other striving to create a little higher trajectory going forward.
I bring this to your attention not to weigh in on the political situation though, given my history and predilections, I guess that was inevitable, but to encourage each of you to reach for the hero’s journey in whatever way you can in your own life. Whether we win a particular battle is beside the point. It is the myriad of light workers coming together that will lift the frequency for the future.
Ann: I have been discouraged.
Bobby: I know you have, Ann, which is why I showed up to bring a little perspective. There will always be times of backsliding, times when the pull of the past is too strong for some to resist, but within that pull is a leveling of what that history encompassed, i.e., slavery, Jim Crow, widespread poverty, and illness devoid of any safety net at all.
And remember that a black man, a good man, became president. For some that was a bridge too far which tripped off the current downturn into fear and hatred, but remember that we are on a trajectory beyond our scope of vision. That downturn does not deny, and in fact in an odd way affirms, the fact that we are progressing. We just have to hang in, hang on, and hold on through the inevitable dips and retrenchments in order to come out on the other side into a brighter world.
Ann: Like the assassinations of MLK, your brother, and yourself?
Bobby: And Gandhi, Lincoln, and many other nameless peacekeepers whose martyrdoms stood as stepping stones across the dark river of human fear.
Have faith, be a stepping stone. All is not as it appears in one small microcosm of history. There is a god, a love-based creative force in the universe. Hitch your wagon to that star and don’t let yourself be discouraged.
March 25, 2023
*Robert Francis Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968).... was an American politician and lawyer. He served as the 64th United States Attorney General from January 1961 to September 1964 and as a U.S. senator from New York from January 1965 until his assassination. Wikipedia.
He has come to this blog on multiple occasions, the first on an anniversary of the day he was shot. His posts can be found by typing his name in the search button above.
**From the poem, The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats.
Free Image Credit: Gravesite of Robert F. Kennedy, Pixabay, likedavid.