This blog will be going on a hiatus for the next few months as I work on completing the first draft of a book I’m writing and continue community organizing. 

And while I do it all I’ll go through each day remembering Bobby’s words to “Tame the Savageness of Man and Make Gentle the Life of This World.” I hope you will, too. 

– RA

Too Often We Excuse Those Who Are Willing to Build Their Own Lives on the shattered dreams of Others

No one deserves to suffer. From birth to death, every moment you live should be free of that awful burden of suffering. Whether it be that child in poverty going to sleep hungry because their family can’t afford dinner, the family ripped apart because of living in a war-torn country, or someone with a disease or disability they never asked for.

Those who suffer are the ones who grow up to feel more.kennedy_discusses_school_with_young_ricky_taggart They maintain that sentiment of what it means and feels like to suffer; and it’s those who you usually see working their hardest at nonprofits, NGO’s, within city, state, or the federal government who have suffered the most throughout their lives. They believe in the simple principle that no one in need should go without it and that at any moment they could find themselves in that same place of need.

Unfortunately, we live in highly complicated times where suffering does occur. Utopias only exist in fairy tales. Instead, we’re left with those who care less for others than they do themselves. They look to either line their pockets with more money than they know what to do with, or they’re seeking more power for themselves.

To those I say: look around at those you ignore. Look at the backs you are breaking to give yourself a lift up above them. Those you stand upon to gain whatever it is you want will always be stronger than you will ever be. They, the ones who go to bed at night unsure of what the next day will bring them, in every literal sense of the word, are the bravest souls you will find.

They will not be forgotten or disappear. Instead, they are the face for what you fear the most: progress, because when those suffering see others suffering they will band together and stand on your back to make themselves known. You cannot erase their suffering or the troubles they faced throughout their lives, but you will awake a sleeping giant unlike any you’ve ever known.

Robert Kenkennedynedy knew this before any of us, especially when he spoke in South Africa in the midst of apartheid. He knew what those who suffered could accomplish if they banded together, regardless of your skin color, ethnicity, age, gender, or whatever it was that caused the suffering. They would carry each other, even when broken and battered, to that mountaintop Martin Luther King, Jr. said he’d seen right before his assassination.

Instead of a mountaintop, though, Bobby saw those little ripples of hope we each could be in enacting change anywhere in the world. In each of us, in all of us who suffer, there is a little ripple of hope we can become even in the darkest of times, and when we merge together we can become the largest of waves powerful enough to wash away any injustice or hatred.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

All it requires us to do is work together instead of live divided, as we do today. Families in this country are torn apart simply because of their political views when we should be cherishing the fact that we can each have our own views because in many countries around the world that right can get you arrested, exiled, or killed.

Bobby understood that we are all one human race, regardless of what you look like or what your social status is.

And as one human race, we suffer together.

So as one human race we should work together to ease the suffering in our world instead of picking fights with each other based on superfluous things.

We must love one another or we will perish.

So, once again, to those suffering: the child going to sleep hungry in what is considered the “shining city on a hill,” the Syrian refugee fleeing the only place they’ve ever known for their lives because their entire village was destroyed by fire from the sky, the black man or woman who is afraid to speak up for their rights to police officers because they’re afraid of the response being the barrel of a gun, and every single person who suffers in ways I may never understand or know of: I love you and I will fight the rest of my life for a world where we can sing a requiem for the suffering you’ve faced head on and succeeded in conquering.

– RA

This Is Not Normal

Many frightening events are happening right in our country. They range from the consistent attempts and now possible appeal of the Affordable Care Act, the reconstruction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and Dakota Pipeline, to the horrific Executive Orders signed by Trump over the past few days. The most horrendous of these orders is the barring of Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States regardless of whether they be refugees, green card holders, or visiting. These are all terrifying to what our country stands for, but I read something the other day which terrified me even more than what we’ve been through these past few weeks:

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Today Will Be Difficult

Believe me, you will have feelings of anger, sadness, and despair. You may think the mountain we are about to climb towards racial, social, economic, and environmental justice is too high and may want to turn back. I know the anxiety facing my own heart when I think of the difficulties we face due to the next four years, but I’m asking you from the pit of my heart: do not give up.

This is a bump in the road. A rather large one, yes, but nothing more or less. I still go into fits of rage when I think of how our country could take one step forward and two large steps backwards with this election, but I know if we all hold true to our beliefs and what we know this country truly stands for one where we treat each other equally, with compassion and love, we will eventually gain those faltered steps back and march forward towards the progress we know our country is destined for.

There is no easy path to this success. It requires us, for lack of a better word, to get off our asses and get to work. Maintaining an eye on legislation being voted on in your local community, state legislature, and in Washington is essential. Stay educated, contact your elected officials, not by letter or email, but by phone, because believe it or not they fear those phone calls more than anything. I’ve learned this from person experience. We have more power in this government than we give ourselves. 

99 of you have decided to take a stand a ignore the inauguration with dozens of elected officials who feel that same fire within to keep fighting. That’s just the beginning.

Download the app Countable to learn about bills going through Congress. This app will keep you informed about what is the chaos of Congress, and don’t be afraid to call your congressperson or senator to let them know how you feel about it.

Stay organized. Join a group nearby you working within the Indivisible Organization, a grassroots organization with groups formed by people like you who want to enact change.

Absolutely want to resist Trump and don’t know where to start? Read this beautifully created manual by activists like Deray and myself to know what to do.

You are not alone in this dark time. And while they may be dark now, I know we can rid the skies of the clouds blocking out the garish sun and once again make this country one where we can all feel safe and understood. We are a compassionate and empathetic society underneath all the garbage currently floating around in this country. I think it’s about time we all picked up a broom and got to work to clean it up. What do you say?

– RA

You Say Free Like It’s A Bad Thing

By now I’m sure many of you have heard of New York State’s motion to grant free state and city college education for those making under certain incomes. I’m already hearing yelling on both sides of the aisle on this issue. Amidst the endless complaints that is political discourse and conversation I thought I’d share just a bit of my two cents on this issue.

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If you believe there’s something going on in this country or world that I’ve neglected to write about – anything remotely related to showing compassion towards those around us – please send me an email or fill out the contact form below. 

I try to base my writing off what RFK would say or do in today’s society, but I also try to squeeze in my own little bit of flair on current events (I can’t help it, it’s the historian and teacher in me), boy do I know there are a lot of current events that should be discussed more.

I consider it an honor receiving any input, feedback, or suggestion from all of you, so don’t be shy! I welcome it!

I can also be reached at tamethesavageness@gmail.com

That Shining City on a Hill

We’re not meant to be like this. We are a kind and loving species, one of the only who have the ability to feel what others are feeling deep down within ourselves. Yet here we are, at each other’s throats, our nails digging in even more so this time than ever before. What is it going to take to make us understand that what divides us is what can bring us together most? We’re all looking for a place to live free of fear, hate, violence, and turmoil. There’s no doubt about that. How we try to go about getting there, though, is what causes so much bloodshed.

  • You believe in a different religion than me? Well then surely you must be the enemy.
  • You live in a different part of the world than me and don’t understand my customs? Well then surely you aren’t humane enough to live near me.
  • You speak a different language than me and neither of us understand one other? Well then surely we’ll never see eye to eye on anything.
  • You look different than me? Have a different skin color, are a different gender, or different sexual identity than me? Well, then you must be wrong because my way is best.

It drives me to tears to see how we rip each other down because of such trivial differences between us. What I don’t understand, though, is that if you strip away those things we find different, all the way down to the very bone that houses our brain and heart you’ll find that we’re exactly the same. Yet we still take the time out of our day to put others down because of something we find inferior about them. Instead of doing so, we should be working towards bettering the human race as a whole, making it easier to survive, and live amongst each other as friends.

We have several potently evil people in political power at the current moment, with several more to join, and the possibility of more to come. What we should be doing rather than fighting one another is planting our seeds to ensure the future of mankind is here, because believe me, it very well may not be in the next 100 years or so if these politics of selfishness continue to strangle us. How do you ensure this doesn’t continue? Look to history for the advice you seek and you will always find the answer: love.

Those who fight hate with hate or violence with violence will only destroy themselves. It has always been those who showed their attackers they would not be phased by the mindless menace of violence that came after them who ended up coming out on top.

So when you feel the urge to destroy or hurt something or someone, remember the these actions will accomplish –  nothing.

Franklin Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

John F. Kennedy asked what you could do for your country.

Ronald Reagan called America that “shining city on a hill.”

Robert F. Kennedy said we must do all we can to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Now let us puncture that fear which has grown around us for so long and prove to the world that as one people we can be compassionate, kind, and loving.
– RA

Syria, Turkey, and Russia

Turkey Russian AmbassadorCall me a globalist. Call me a humanitarian. Call me whatever you want. What I believe is that we are one human race, regardless of the borders we’ve created, the religions we cling to, and the ethnicities we label each other as.

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We Live in Interesting Times

As I began to write this post about our changing country and my experience over the weekend I couldn’t help but remember the words Robert Kennedy spoke in 1966 while visiting South Africa during Apartheid:

There is a Chinese curse which says “May he live in interesting times.” Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind. And everyone here will ultimately be judged – will ultimately judge himself – on the effort he has contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which his ideals and goals have shaped that effort.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or were a contestant on Big Brother [see here]) you know that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. Fortunately for America, the vast majority of people in the United States – including those who voted – did not want to see this man anywhere close to the White House. So what do we do?

We rise up.

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