Thursday, June 05, 2008

Honoring Robert Kennedy 2008

How can it be that today marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy, a remarkable leader who offered such promise for curing our nation's ills?

Where has that time gone? What exactly do we have to show for it?

In some ways, it's as if time stood still after that fateful day four decades ago when a single horrendous act stalled forward progress on solving the serious challenges facing our country, including those impacting human rights.

When Bobby Kennedy died at age 42, many in this country could barely go through the motions of daily living, driven to their knees by the staggering loss of so many great leaders in short order, including John Kennedy and Martin Luther King. It was a tough reality in our history from which many in this nation have since struggled to fully comprehend and recover.

Forty years of stunned silence and grieving and the resulting lack of political interest has created a country now seriously off course, one desperate for true leadership. The meteoric rise of Barack Obama and this week's historical claim to the Democratic Party's nomination, is especially timely. The inclusion of Caroline Kennedy on Obama's search team is now another boost connecting past and present, a soothing balm for deep wounds from another time that have never fully healed.

Robert Kennedy remains one of my heroes. Working tirelessly to carve his own legacy while standing in the shadow of his larger-than-life brother, John, Bobby Kennedy took on tough issues of civil rights and social injustice. He boldy acted on his outrage and fought for change in ways few ever have. Like Martin Luther King, Kennedy paid the ultimate price, a sign of a true leader, one willing to fight to the death to do what is right and just for the people he/she serves, regardless of personal cost. That kind of leadership is rare.

In today's San Jose Mercury News (Robert Kennedy: A life cut short, a lasting legacy), Jerry Abramson, former leader of Students for Kennedy says of Robert Kennedy, "He challenged our complacency. He was a good listener and never spoke down to people. He was a remarkable leader."

There is now a reawakening, an excitement in the air that hasn't been felt in far too long. Ethel Kennedy says of her husband and Obama, "they were cut from the same cloth. they reached out to people and inspired them."

Robert Kennedy will be forever missed, never forgotten.

Dare we hope for that much again?

For more information on the life/work of Robert F. Kennedy and how you can continue his vision of social justice, visit: the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial website:
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