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In the words of Bobby

September 12, 2008

First of all, I apologize if you don’t come here for political commentary, but since this is my blog I get to say what’s on my mind. If you care to, you can skip to my post below with some great layouts I’ve done recently…

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My mind has been on overdrive for several weeks. This world we live in, this country we love, is currently undergoing huge changes and I’ve been incredibly wrapped up in the constant political bombardment of the 2008 Presidential Campaign. We talk about it at work constantly, my husband and I have few conversations that are not related to the campaign. My son is issuing his own sound bites now, on topics from lipstick to drilling, you can imagine how a 5 year old mind (albeit a very intelligent one) interprets the political chatter. As I’ve become more obsessed with the election, I’ve found myself becoming more and more disillusioned, depressed, and to be perfectly frank, scared.

It culminated yesterday, the anniversary of the Sept 11th attacks, with a pit of fire in my gut all day and passing out at about 8pm from mental over stimulation.

So today I wanted to seek out inspiring information, information that made me hopeful once again about the promise that the US can bring to the world. I came across this speech, given by my hero, Robert Kennedy. The Speech is called the The Mindless Menace of Violence and it’s full text can be found here. I’ve copied some of his words below.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

I chose to share this speech not just because Robert Kennedy was a leader whose time was stolen, nor because he was speaking of the violence that took another leader’s life (Martin Luther King, Jr.), but because his words resonated with me, about what we are doing to ourselves, right now, as a nation. We spend ridiculous amounts of time dragging our candidates through the mud. It’s gotten quite disgusting. There was a time last year that I thought I’d be happy with the selections of the upcoming election. This was my dream match-up, because I’ve always respected McCain, and because I thought Obama could change this country, I honestly thought I’d be happy with the outcome either way if these two men were the nominees. But now, now with the partisan politics in full swing, I want to just repeat one more time what Bobby said in that last paragraph.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

Let’s not belittle the community organizer, lets not start the Mommy Wars, or the culture wars, lets not cling to claims of sexism or racism. Let’s remember what our common goal is, our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, for all Americans, and all citizens of the world.

Off my soap box….

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebecca and Mady permalink
    September 14, 2008 10:30 am

    Hi Tania,

    Glad to see you got your words back, especially in such a profound way. I swear the first words out of Josh’s mouth this morning (besides “let me sleep”) were about the election and how overwhelming and scary it all is. I will read the full speech tonight.

    Rebecca

  2. September 18, 2008 7:32 pm

    {sigh} yep. It just is. Hope you’re feeling better. I don’t mind at all. Very inspiring words…

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