Ripples of Hope

What do we have when all is lost? When we hit rock bottom and feel the only other placeethelrfk_soweto_t614.jpg__735x525_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale to go is six feet under? These questions have haunted my mind for the last few months, as it turns out life doesn’t wait for you to be comfortable when life happens to you. So, I live with the scars of the past inside and out, living days of impending doom or feelings of worthlessness that cloud my mind from any objective I may be trying to accomplish.

There are days where I feel the only way out is through my own devices. But then I’m reminded of something that was said to me not too long ago that continuously runs through my mind, and it reminds me of Bobby.

Through the uncomfortability comes progress.

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Begin Again

As we say goodbye to Bobby 50 years after he was taken from us, I want to reflect on the consistent message he spoke of time and time again while traveling throughout the world and the US as Attorney General, a Senator from New York, and finally as a presidential candidate in 1968. His message never wavered in any position he held. His http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ds.11530message was stern yet docile at the same time because Bobby was more than simply Bobby. He was an ideal, and that ideal will never die, so long as we continue to heed his words.

Be warned, that this post will contain a large number of photos taken on the train ride from New York City to Washington D.C. where he was laid to rest. The pictures themselves bring me to tears, but at times when I feel hopeless, I remember the words Bobby spoke and remember that the only way forward is to do just that: move forward.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

We’ve crossed the threshold, as Robert Kennedy succumbed to his wounds on June 6c96bcf5-6589-4893-b633-dcf04d5a1923-14969-00000c782b6de9e55th, 1968. Now, 50 years later, we come to a turning point, as we do every year where we reflect on the “what if’s” and “what could have been’s”: Where do we go from here? The answer, just as Bobby did just after the death of his brother, is: onwards. We continue his legacy, we fight for what’s right, and we continue to spread his message of empathy and compassion.

Now, on this blog, I might be beating a dead horse by continuously driving this idea, but I cannot stress how essential showing empathy and compassion are in light of today’s world. Read on to see why.

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Onto to Chicago…

I’ve been on a short hiatus because of some medical issues I’ve been having, but I’m back and it’s time to continue onwards. Because that’s all we can do, right?

Here we are. 49 years and a few hours from the moment Robert Kennedy was mortally wounded at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, with the 50th anniversary of it just a few hours away. With it came the loss of a great man, a message of tolerance and compassion, and a willingness to live a life of good during times of turmoil and distress. What we haven’t lost, though, are the ideals that make this man worth remembering.

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A Life of Impending Doom

Back in 1968, after Lyndon Johnson dropped out of the race on the Democratic ticket and his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, took his place we began to hear download (2)something strange. There was this talk about the “politics of joy.” It almost felt like we were living in some sort of tone-deaf country. Hadn’t we just lost Martin Luther King, Jr. just a few weeks earlier? Weren’t there riots in the streets and cities literally on fire? Weren’t thousands of young soldiers dying halfway across the world? We weren’t living in a world – let alone politics – of joy. We were living in a world of impending doom.

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Seek a Newer World

I wake up every day and see news outlet after news outlet polluting our minds RFK_2with jealousy, vanity, and cynicism. How many homicides were there today? Did they catch the guy who kidnapped that kid? Will they ever be found? And if they’re found will they be the same? The stock market’s up, though, so don’t you worry, my friend, everything’s gonna be all right.

 

Is this really how we judge whether we’re succeeding as a country – as a species? Is it more important to have more money in your pocket than it is to have an open mind? When did inflexibility become the new normal? You can’t have a conversation with anyone regarding any type of political theory lest you risk the conversation becoming an attack on you personally.

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The Labyrinth of Suffering

bobby2_0011I’ve been trying to bring myself to write this post all week, but have found myself, time and time again, struck down by the bogs of depression and anxiety. But, I’ve forced myself, after days of thinking of this post and what I wanted it to be about, to finally put it out into the universe.

Our lives are filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We’re elated one moment and utterly defeated the next. Suffering is inevitable for all of us. The question is, how do we deal with the suffering that life causes and how do we get out of what can only be described as a labyrinth of suffering? It sometimes feels like we’ve lost our way and cannot see even six inches ahead of us. We stumble in the dark for what we hope will be the next right step. Sometimes we even have to pull ourselves along the way because our bodies and minds are so broken and twisted from the pain we’re going through.

It’s what I imagine Bobby felt on November 22, 1963, when he was swimming in his pool GettyImages-3288684and received that phone call from J. Edgar Hoover that his brother, President John F. Kennedy, had just been shot and then another one not too soon after stating he was dead. I could never imagine the utter defeat his entire essence must have gone through at that moment. When you dedicate your life to someone like Bobby did for Jack and then have them ripped away from you without a moment’s notice you are left bare and alone in the dark. You can’t even say whether or not you’re still part of this world because your world has just been obliterated. And just like that, with the snap of a finger, Bobby’s life was forever changed. Continue reading

Progress is Inevitable

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the school shooting at Columbine High School, where 15 students and teachers (including the shooters themselves) were massacred in an act of senseless rage. And today millions of students across the country walked out of 13239380_963425050440812_1276804681232585690_ntheir schools to once again protest the heinous carnage that goes on time and time again around us with seemingly no end in sight. It’s time like these when we feel hopeless and that we are doomed to simply repeat the past over and over again.

This time, though, it’s different. You can feel it in the air. Change is a-comin’ and there’s nothing special interest groups, fundamentalists, or conservatives (with a small c) can do about it. Progress moves forward even in the darkest of times, and, just like life, it stops for no one. Winston Churchill said of America:

 “Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.”

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Wisdom Through the Awful Grace of God

“My favorite poem, my—my favorite poet was by Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.”

On April 4, 1968, Robert Kennedy spoke to a small crowd in Indianapolis at what was supposed to be a campaign stop during his presidential campaign. Instead, he had to break the news to this crowd – of mostly black individuals – that Martin Luther King, Jr. had images (1)been shot and killed. Cries rang out when they heard this news, but still, they listened to Bobby as he spoke of what our country could truly become if we fought through the fog of division and hatred seething through our country at the time.

Those words ring louder today more than almost any other time in our country’s history. We face an immense uphill climb today. Our country has continued down this path of division and hatred, and it has culminated in the devolution of man from our once compassionate and strong will towards social progress to a completely divided country and selfish way of life.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

We cannot continue down this path.

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The Mindless Menace of Violence

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Yesterday, after the unspeakable mass murder that took place in Las Vegas, I was at a loss for words as to how I would react to such a heinous act of violence. I wrote a post, instead, about how we must learn to come together, love one another and understand each other in order to break this endless cycle of violence.

Today, I am still speechless and at a loss for words, but I feel Robert Kennedy spoke just as true nearly 50 years ago about violence as it pertains to today. The fact that we still have yet to learn and understand from our fellow neighbors around us shows just how far we have still to go.

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Below is a video with the audio for Robert Kennedy’s “Mindless Menace of Violence” speech he gave the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Please give a listen and if you feel it still resonates during these violent times we currently live in please like, share, and comment below.

 

I’ve included the transcript of the speech under the video.

 

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