Tag Archives: Robert Kennedy

Quote [74] – The Frailties and Damage, Of The Mass Mind – Short Sighted and Reactionary Impulses.

 

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

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

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.

Society, People, Violence & government In His Own Words

Robert F Kennedy

 

http://www.democratichub.com/posts/3652/on-the-mindless-menace-of-violence-robert-f-kennedy.aspx

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind People & Society Mahatma Gandhi

 

“Did you ever run for political office?’ he asked.

‘No, of course not’ Said the young man

‘If you had,’ said Mason ‘you’d realise what a fickle thing the mass mind is.’

‘What do you mean by that?’

‘Simply that there’s no loyalty in it; no consistency in it,’ said Perry Mason

Society

 

 

Erle Stanley Gardner – The Case of the Howling Dog
‘I has everything to do with it,’ Perry Mason said.  ‘A jury is an audience.  It’s a small audience, but it’s an audience just the same.  Now the playwrights who are successful with plays have to know human nature.  They recognise the fickleness of the mass mind.  They know that it’s incapable of loyalty; that its incapable of holding any emotion for any great period of time.  If there hadn’t been a chance to laugh after the dramatic scene in the play you saw, the play would have been a flop.
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Quote [73] – Speech Extracts – Robert Kennedy

  I am today announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I’m obliged to do all that I can.

I run to seek new policies – policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities, policies to close the gaps that now exist between black and white, between rich and poor, between young and old, in this country and around the rest of the world.

I run for the presidency because I want the Democratic Party and the United States of America to stand for hope instead of despair, for reconciliation of men instead of the growing risk of world war.

Making Change & Why http://www.4president.org/Speeches/rfk1968announcement.htm

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In His Own Words

Robert F Kennedy

 

  My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

“Some men see things as they are and say why.   I dream things that never were and say why not.”

Making Change & Why

 

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ekennedytributetorfk.html

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In His Own Words

Ted Kennedy

 

Quote [69] – Advise From the Past .. To Governments Of The Day

  Wise policy is setting priorities – differentiating between that which is merely important and that which is truly essential.  And it would be both callous and self-indulgent for those of us who sit comfortably at home to form policy without full knowledge and consciousness of the costs to others, young men and women and children, whose lives turn on the abstractions of our discussion. Politics – Government Make gentle the life of the world

Quote [43] – Kennedy Speeches

I am today announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I’m obliged to do all that I can.

I run to seek new policies – policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities, policies to close the gaps that now exist between black and white, between rich and poor, between young and old, in this country and around the rest of the world.

I run for the presidency because I want the Democratic Party and the United States of America to stand for hope instead of despair, for reconciliation of men instead of the growing risk of world war.

http://www.4president.org/Speeches/rfk1968announcement.htm

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In His Own Words

Robert F Kennedy

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

“Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not.”

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ekennedytributetorfk.html

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In His Own Words

Ted Kennedy

 

Quote [41] – The Dulling Social Expectation Of Poor Political Culture

All the phrases which have meant so much to Americans – peace and progress, justice and compassion, leadership and idealism – often sound not like stirring reminders of our nation, but call forth the cynical laughter or hostility of our young and many of our adults.  Not because they do not believe them, but they do no think our leaders mean them …

This is not simply the result of bad politics and lack of skill.  It flows from the fact that for almost the first time the national leadership is calling upon the darker impulses of the American spirit – not, perhaps, deliberately, but through its action and the example it sets – an example where integrity, truth, honour, and tall the rest seem like words to fill out speeches rather than guiding beliefs.  Thus we are turned inward.  People wish to protect what they have.  There is a failing of generosity and compassion.  There is an unwillingness to sacrifice or take risks.  All of this is contrary to the deepest and most dominant impulses of the American character – all that which had characterised two centuries of history.

Make gentle the life of the world

Quote Book – [40] – The Need For Idealism and Pragmatism In Government

But if there is one thing that President Kennedy stood for that touched the most profound feelings of young people around the world, it was the belief that idealism, high aspirations, and deep convictions are not incompatible with the most practical and efficient of programs – that there is no basic inconsistency between ideals and realistic possibilities, no separation between the deepest desires of heart and of mind and the rational application of human effort to human problems. Make gentle the life of this world
To say that the future will be different from the present is, to scientists, hopelessly self-evident.  I observe regretfully that in politics, however, it can be heresy.  It can be denounced as radicalism or branded as subversion.  There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks.  They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. Make gentle the life of the world
Wise policy is setting priorities – differentiating between that which is merely important and that which is truly essential.  And it would be both callous and self-indulgent for those of us who sit comfortably at home to form policy without full knowledge and consciousness of the costs to others, young men and women and children, whose lives turn on the abstractions of our discussion. Make gentle the life of the world

Quote Book – [39] –Misc: Division vs Common Cause / Law – Society

Page 96 Thucydides reported that the Peloponnesians and their allies were mighty in battle but handicapped by their policy-making body, in which he related, “each presses its own ends … which generally results in no action at all … they devote more time to the prosecution of their own purposes than to the consideration of the general welfare – each supposes that no harm will come of his own neglect, that is the business of another to do this or that; and so, as each separately entertains the same illusion, the common cause imperceptibly decays” Make gentle the life of this world
Page 105 In a democratic society law in the form which free men give to justice.  The glory of justice and the majesty of law are created not just by the Constitution – nor by the courts – nor by the officers of the law – nor by the lawyers – but by the men and women who constitute our society – who are the protectors of the law as they are themselves protected by the law. Make gentle the life of this world

Quote Book – [38] – People & Politicians

The suppression of individuality – the sense that one is listening – is even more pronounced in our politics.  Television, newspapers, magazines, are a cascade of words, official statements, policies, explanations, and declarations.  All flow from the height of government down to the passive citizen: who can shout up against a waterfall? More important, the language of politics is too often insincerity, which we have perhaps to easily accepted but which to the young is particularly offensive.  George Orwell wrote a generation ago: ‘In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification.  Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.  The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism.  A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details.”  In this respect, politics had not changed since Orwell wrote.  And if we add to the insincerity, and the absence of dialogue, the absurdity of a politics in which elected officials find sport in joking about children bitten by rats, we can understand why so many of our young people have turned form engagement to disengagement, from politics to passivity, from hope to nihilism, from SDS to LSD.

Quote Book – [35] – Government & Society

Even as the drive toward bigness [and] concentration . . . has reached heights never before dreamt of in the past, we have come suddenly to realize how heavy a price we have paid . . . in loss of the values of nature and community and local diversity that found their nurture in the smaller towns and rural areas of America. And we can see, as we enter the last third of the twentieth century, that the price has been too high.
The question now assumes even greater urgency, as the growth of cities propels us toward the “mass society” – that frightening vision of people as interchangeable units, the middle class as powerless as the poor to affect the decisions of government.
One great problem is sheer growth, growth which crowds people into slums, thrusts suburbs out over the countryside, burdens to the breaking point all our old ways of thought and action-our systems of transportation and water supply, education, and even garbage collection. It also weighs heavily on our means of raising money to finance these vital services.

A second problem is the destruction of the physical environment, stripping people of contact with sun and fresh air, clean rivers, grass, and trees, condemning them to a life among stone and concrete, neon lights, and an endless river of automobiles.

A third problem is the increasing difficulty of transportation, adding concealed unpaid hours to the work week, removing man from the social and cultural amenities that are the heart of the city, sending destructive swarms of automobiles across the city, leaving behind them a band of concrete and a poisoned atmosphere.  And sometimes, as in Watts, our surrender to the mobile so crippled public transportation that thousands literally could not afford to go to work elsewhere in the city.

A fourth destructive force is the concentrated poverty and racial tension of the urban ghetto, a problem so vast that the barest recital of its symptoms is profoundly shocking.

The fifth is both the cause and consequence of all the rest. It is the destruction of the sense, and often the fact, of community, of human dialogue, of the thousand invisible strands of common experience and purpose, and of the affection and respect which tie men to their fellows.

It is expressed in such words as community, neighbourhood, civic pride, friendship. It provides the life-sustaining force of human warmth, or security among others, and a sense of one’s own human significance in the accepted association and companionship of others

Change is crowding our people into cities scarred by slums – encircles by suburbs which sprawl recklessly across the countryside, where movement is difficult, beauty rare, life itself more impersonal, and security imperiled by the lawless.
Therefore, the time has come … when we must actively fight bigness and over concentration, and seek instead to bring the engines of government, of technology, of the economy, fully under the control of our citizens, to recapture and reinforce the values of a more human time and place.
Growth has polluted our water and poisoned our air, and stripped us of contact with sunlight, trees and lakes.  Government has foundered as new agencies had proliferated, splitting tasks and energies among dozens of distant and unconnected bureaus.  Individuals have lost touch with the institutions of society, even with one another; and thus have become more and more both perpetrators and victims of coldness, cruelty, and violence.

Make gentle the life of this world

Quote Book -[17]-Civilisation & The World (Society)

Page 135 “If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them or break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks everyone, and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.   But those that will not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brace impartially. If you are none of those you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.” – Ernst Hemingway

Source: Make gentle the life of the world – Robert F. Kennedy