RFK Assassination and D-Day.
We have been somewhat inundated recently with 1968 retrospectives. My guess as to why is because we are nearing the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Coming as it did some two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King, the Kennedy assassination coupled with King’s death was cataclysmic.
We could have many debates over the meaning and legacy of the deaths of Kennedy and King. Sadly fifty years on from their deaths there are some remarkably similar things happening in our society. We have open racism at the highest levels of government, poverty continues to rise and one party continues to work hard to stop any aid to the poor. The gap between the almost unimaginably wealthy and the dirt poor has never been wider.
Rather than dwell on what was, this seems like a good jumping off point to assess our current situation in the context of the promises of America that we find in document like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
One of the best ways to honor the deaths of Kennedy and King will be to renew our commitments to true American ideals of equality of opportunity regardless of race, creed, color or gender.
Similarly that is also the best way to honor the bravery of the soldiers who stormed Omaha Beach on June 6th of 1944. Many gave their lives. Those who survived were deeply affected by the experience. I think of my late father-in-law who was among those who stormed the beach that day.
He was not very political during his life. On a rare occasion there might be some news item on the TV that would get a comment. Most of his comments would revolve around simply giving every American a fair chance. “That’s all people want is a fair chance. I put my life on the line for that.” That was also about all he would ever say about his WWII experience.
Unlike what Trump stated on Memorial Day last week, I am guessing were my Father-in-law alive today he would not be proud of the country. He would much rather see everyone getting a fair chance, not a country where the top 1 or 2% get most of the rewards and everyone else gets the leftovers.
Here in Iowa the primaries are Tuesday on the anniversary of RFK’s assassination. The day after that we must begin the job of turning this state and this country back to its ideals.