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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With an Open Heart and an Open Mind

We live in a world where we shut ourselves up in our heads and hide there with the belief that by staying there we’ll be safe. Unfortunately, from personal experience, I canethelrfk_soweto_t614.jpg__735x525_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale tell you that the most dangerous place in the world is the six inches between my ears. We need to be open to others – the good and the bad – and stop thinking that we can think our way out of the problems around us. When you use your own thought process to try and solve your problems you’ll be surprised at how quickly you become exhausted from going in circles, like a dog chasing its tail.

Well, then, what are we to do? We break the habit. Sounds simple, right? Just stop thinking the way you do, they say. Then you’ll get better. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been thinking the same way for 30 odd years and to tell me to just change my way of thinking isn’t necessarily going to be fully possible. What’s important, though, is to be willing to change. To have an open heart and an open mind can be your greatest ally on the days when you feel everything is crumbling around you.

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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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Make a Dent in the Universe

When I wake up in the morning I feel disheartened, because I feel the insignificance that is me. I think of how the world gets on just fine without anyone knowing who I am, and I wonder whether I was cut out for this world. I worry that the incredibly small amount downloadof time I have on this planet will be wasted and I will have accomplished nothing. I will leave no dent in the universe, and instead, be left on the list of billions of unknown people who have passed on and since then been forgotten.

Then I think of what Bobby said all those years ago and I’m reminded that even the smallest person can make a difference. Just look at what’s happened in our country since the Presidential Election of 2016, since the shooting in Parkland, since the moment you woke up this morning. All of these little, unknown people made from the stuff of stars in the universe somehow made their voices of sanity rise above the fray of incredible and incoherent yelling we’re hearing every day.

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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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Anger Turned Inwards Leads to Madness

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity to speak briefly to you about this mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

How could these words, spoken nearly 50 years ago, still resonate today so fluidly, so robert_kennedy_glasses_2clearly, so precisely? What are we to say when the violence surrounding us becomes so common that we become numb to the pain and aggravation it causes?

The first question that comes to our mind is: Who do we blame? 

The second question that comes to our mind is: How could this happen?

And lastly, the question that seems to forever fall to the wayside and on deaf ears too often but requires an answer is: What can we do to stop this?

Many say these questions sometimes are so difficult to answer, but the truth is they are not. The answer is right in front of you. In fact, all we need to do is stand in front of a mirror to understand the causes, who to blame, and how to stop this.

It’s us.

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We Can Do Better

Those were the words Robert Kennedy lived by as he worked tirelessly to soothe race kennedy_discusses_school_with_young_ricky_taggartrelations, ease the pain of the sick and suffering, and show this country that we are – indeed – a compassionate country. It’s what he fought for during his time as Attorney General, the torch he picked up and carried after his brother died, and fought for each day from his tenure as a Senator of New York to his short-lived 85-day presidential campaign.

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I Believe That, as Long as There is Plenty, Poverty is Evil.

Take a look at that shiny new smartphone you have, or maybe the big screen TV you rfk_poorchild1have at home. Pretty sweet, right? You’ve got these great commodities which you worked so hard for and now that you have them in your life you should feel happier, right? You now have what you worked for. It’s in your life now, and you can take pride in it.

As our sesquipedalian Cheeto-faced orange of a president states so eloquently: Wrong.

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