Robert F. Kennedy should have turned 93 today.
The measure of a man is not just how far they travel with the gifts they are bestowed, but how far and how many others they take with them. Bobby Kennedy was born with wealth, fame, brains, health, connections, etc. He was dealt four cards to a Royal Flush, and appeared ready to draw the ace. He was traveling towards great heights, and was intent on taking many others with him.
Although he had been born into privilege, he kept growing and learning every day. He had conversations with African Americans, Latinos, women, people with disabilities, etc. He became a uniter, ready to fight for every single American to have the opportunity to contribute their full potential to our great nation.
His last few months were his best. In the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination on April 4 of 1968, Kennedy campaigned to become President. He criss crossed the country speaking vigorously for civil rights, taking care of the poor, and advocating for the young. In those final few speeches he talked about the dangers of relying too much on statistics and data. He said we should concerned about other questions like: Are people happy? Are they passionate? Are they educated? Cultured? Do they love and are they loved? Are they inspired? Do they feel a part of their community?
“The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” – Robert F. Kennedy
He became the best man he had ever was. Then he was murdered.
A death too young is the theft of promise. It is a theft from us all.
We look back upon the pictures of his last few weeks and we mourn. We see him with poor African American children, and there is something we recognize in the eyes of the children and in the eyes of Kennedy: hope.
We look at them reaching for each other, and we see them realizing something that is too often forgotten: Their is no such thing as “them”.
He was going to be the sunrise after the darkness, the warmth after the cold. He was going to be a fresh start and a new morning.
When Robert F. Kennedy was murdered, so were the future contributions he could have made to this country and world.
Robert F. Kennedy died way too young, but his spirit and the things he fought for should always live on, hopefully in our next President.