Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 27, 2016--Wisdom from Robert Kennedy

As we are within the last two weeks of one of the nastiest, most divisive presidential elections in history, it is not too soon to think about what kind of nation will remain after the ballots are cast, counted, and a new president is selected.

The day Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis, against the best advice of his aides who feared for his life, Robert Kennedy, seeking the nomination of his party, on the night of April 4, 1968, ventured into the flaming ghetto in Indianapolis and delivered these words. Words that almost equally could stand for a statement about our divided circumstances and point to a future of reconciliation.

I have added the italics.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black . . . you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization -- black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. 
But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times. 
My favorite poet was 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.

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