The Forgotten Brother Part 1

June 4, 2011

What would've happened if he became President?

43 years old today, Robert F. Kennedy was on his way to getting the Democratic Presidential nomination. This day, he won California and South Dakota. Later that evening, he would meet his end. I recently got into the Senator. I didn’t know much about him and the people I knew didn’t know either. Once I read his speeches from his campaign, I thought to myself what would’ve happened if he became President? I’ve never heard any public official speak on poverty like that. After finishing the book above (click the photo if you would like to buy it), I’ve decided to share some quotes from the speeches. Let’s all be like this Robert F. Kennedy!

“I run to seek new policies—policies to close the gaps between black and white, rich and poor, young and old, in this country and around the world. I run for the presidency because I want the Democratic Party and the United States of America to stand for hope instead of despair, for reconciliation of men instead of the growing risk of world war.”

“…these are not ordinary times and this is not an ordinary election. At stake is not simply the leadership of our party or even our country—it is our right to the moral leadership on this planet.”

“If we examine the history of this conflict, we find the dismal story repeated time after time…at every crisis…we have denied that anything was wrong; sent more troops; and issued more confident communiques…we have been assured that this one last step would bring victory…the predictions and promises have failed and been forgotten, and the demand has been made again for just one more step up the ladder.”

“If the government’s troops will not or cannot carry the fight for their cities, we cannot ourselves destroy [the cities]. That kind of salvation is not an act we can presume to perform for them. For we must ask our government—we must ask ourselves: where does such logic end?”

“What we must ask ourselves is whether we have a right to bring so much destruction to another land without clear and convincing evidence that this is what its people want. But that is precisely the evidence we do not have. What they want is peace, not dominated by any outside forces.”

“…it is long past time to ask: what is this war doing to us? Of course it is costing us money…but that is the smallest price we pay. The cost is in our young men, the tens of thousands of their lives cut off forever. The cost is in our world position—in neutrals and allies alike, every day more baffled by and estranged from a policy they cannot understand.”

“If young boys and girls are so filled with despair when they are going to high school and feel that their lives are so hopeless and that nobody’s going to care for them, nobody’s going to be involved with them, nobody’s going to bother with them, that they either hang themselves, shoot themselves, or kill themselves—I don’t think that’s acceptable…I think we can do much, much better.”

“If we believe that we as Americans are bound together by a common concern for each other, than an urgent national priority is upon us. We must began to end the disgrace of this other America. And this is one of the great tasks of leadership for us, as individuals and citizens this year.”

“But even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task. It is to confront the poverty of satisfaction, purpose, and dignity that inflicts us all. Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.”

“Those who now call for an end to dissent…seem not to understand what this country is all about. For debate and dissent are the very heart of the American process. We have followed the wisdom of Greece: ‘All things are to be examined and brought into question. There is no set limit to thought.'”

“…our happiness will come not from goods we have, but from the good we do together.”

“…the work we must do is not for the benefit of any one of our peoples: It is work we must do for all Americans.”

“All [disadvantaged] Americans are joined by the bond of injustice—and all these Americans must be freed by a strong, determined national effort—not an effort which merely swells our budget with programs which will not free these Americans—but an effort which will provide jobs, not welfare doles; decent homes, not slums standing on the foundation of federal indifference.”

“All of us, from the wealthiest and most powerful of men, to the weakest and hungriest of children, share one precious possession: the name ‘American.'”

“We have assumed that more federal funds are the only answer to our problems. I believe the time has come for the leadership of America to put its trust in the hands of the people—and to meet the great domestic challenges of our time with programs shaped and run by the citizens themselves.”

“The loss of participation is a loss which affects all of us…”

“Together, we can make this a nation where young people do not seek the false peace of drugs. Together, we can make this a nation where old people are not shunted off; where, regardless of the color of his skin or the place of birth of his father, ever citizen will have an equal chance at dignity and decency.”

“We have been stripped of goals and values and direction, as we move aimlessly and rather futilely from crisis to crisis and danger to danger. And the record shows that kind of approach will not only not solve problems, it will only deepen them.”

“This is a time to create, not destroy. This is a time for men to work out of a sense of decency, not bitterness. This is a time to begin again…”

“It is time to begin rebuilding the Grand Alliance—to repair the bonds of trust and confidence of those historic allies whose friendship has been the basis of our own security so many times in the past.”

“It is time to recall ourselves to our true responsibilities in the world: to recognize that we cannot sit frozen in indifference while everyday, 10,000 fellow human beings starve elsewhere in the world; that it is a monstrous disproportion that we should buy eight million new cars a year while most of the world goes without shoes.”

‎”[César Chávez’s] message says that dignity is not something awarded coldly in a welfare office. This message says that dignity is something a man attains with his mind, with the labor of his body, with his belief in himself. It is not something you buy in a supermarket.”

“…this country must insure that Mexican Americans do not have to bleed for a living. I want to see an America where Mexican Americans produce featherweight champions of the world, but also space engineers, doctors of letters, great novelists, fine composers and Nobel Prize winners.”

“America should allow them to be anything which their talent and intelligence can make them. If America fails these young people, if through indifference or callousness they are denied jobs, opportunities, or education, then the American dream will have failed. I do not believe America will fail. Together we can build an America that can give these children the open door to the future. That is why I am here.”

“Together we can make ourselves a nation that spends more on books than on bombs, more on hospitals than the terrible tools of war, more on decent houses than military aircraft.”

“…I am on the side of those who are not afraid to admit past mistakes…”



  1. […] State of Mind Challenging Minds « The Forgotten Brother Part 1 The Forgotten Brother Part 2 June 5, […]

  2. […] today, Robert F. Kennedy passed away due to an assassin’s bullet…as so it’s told. For the past two days, I’ve been posting quotes that I’ve put up on Facebook from RFK’s […]

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