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The last contact--


Greg Burnham
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In 1966 my family had returned from Washington, DC, to live in San Diego, CA. During those tumultuous times I was becoming more and more aware of politics, specifically their impact on history. Interestingly, political power has the unique potential of effecting not only the shaping of current history--which is the focus of most concerned activists--but it actually has an equally significant impact on BOTH future and, surprisingly, past history, as well. Political power is its own creator...and destroyer.

I remember following the campaigns of the candidates for the 1968 Presidential race beginning with the refusal to seek or accept the democratic nomination by LBJ. Then Hubert Humphry, Ed Muskie, and George McGovern camps turned up the volume, but not nearly loudly or passionately enough. Then came RFK. He practically whispered by comparison, but the electorate perceived a SHOUT. And it was off to the races.

So much happened so quickly back in the Kennedy years. They had the ability to create tremendous momentum--almost instantly. An avalanche of loyalty, purpose, solidarity, vision, and hope based on a real desire to create a level playing field among Americans. That is not a communist agenda--it is an American ideal. The concept of an America which fosters a "policy of non-entitlement for the priveledged and equal opportunity for the under priveledged and disenfranchised"--in no way resembles Socialism. The idea promotes a "free market" by un-stacking an otherwised "stacked deck" --

RFK made an appearance at the El Cortez Hotel in downtown San Diego on June 4th, 1968. My mother brought me and my sister there to see him. We were so excited. We constructed home made placcards and attached them to boards. As we made our way to the parking garage exit where his convertible would be emerging after his speech was over, we were met by a crowd that was already gathered there. I handed my sign to my sister and told my mom I wanted to get closer to see him. She said I could, but be careful. I weaved my 11 year old rather scrawny frame between the adults until I got all the way to the front. His car came out of the parking structure and stopped half way over the sidewalk. He stood up to wave at all of the people gathered--and immediately two aides/body guards nearly tackled him back into the seat of the open car due to all the tall buildings. After he landed in his seat he seemed to look right at me--at least I think he did--and so I lunged forward with my whole body attempting to touch him, jumping halfway over the cordon rope and managed to get my right arm into the car and grabbed somone's tie and lapel. However, I can't be sure it was his because the bodies in front of me were blocking my view. Someone slapped my hand loose and I let go--and just then he definitely looked my way and smiled his toothy Kennedy warmth.

As we watched the election returns about 24 or so hours later, our cheers for victory were destroyed before our eyes. And that's all I have to say about that.

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In 1966 my family had returned from Washington, DC, to live in San Diego, CA. During those tumultuous times I was becoming more and more aware of politics, specifically their impact on history. Interestingly, political power has the unique potential of effecting not only the shaping of current history--which is the focus of most concerned activists--but it actually has an equally significant impact on BOTH future and, surprisingly, past history, as well. Political power is its own creator...and destroyer.

I remember following the campaigns of the candidates for the 1968 Presidential race beginning with the refusal to seek or accept the democratic nomination by LBJ. Then Hubert Humphry, Ed Muskie, and George McGovern camps turned up the volume, but not nearly loudly or passionately enough. Then came RFK. He practically whispered by comparison, but the electorate perceived a SHOUT. And it was off to the races.

So much happened so quickly back in the Kennedy years. They had the ability to create tremendous momentum--almost instantly. An avalanche of loyalty, purpose, solidarity, vision, and hope based on a real desire to create a level playing field among Americans. That is not a communist agenda--it is an American ideal. The concept of an America which fosters a "policy of non-entitlement for the priveledged and equal opportunity for the under priveledged and disenfranchised"--in no way resembles Socialism. The idea promotes a "free market" by un-stacking an otherwised "stacked deck" --

RFK made an appearance at the El Cortez Hotel in downtown San Diego on June 4th, 1968. My mother brought me and my sister there to see him. We were so excited. We constructed home made placcards and attached them to boards. As we made our way to the parking garage exit where his convertible would be emerging after his speech was over, we were met by a crowd that was already gathered there. I handed my sign to my sister and told my mom I wanted to get closer to see him. She said I could, but be careful. I weaved my 11 year old rather scrawny frame between the adults until I got all the way to the front. His car came out of the parking structure and stopped half way over the sidewalk. He stood up to wave at all of the people gathered--and immediately two aides/body guards nearly tackled him back into the seat of the open car due to all the tall buildings. After he landed in his seat he seemed to look right at me--at least I think he did--and so I lunged forward with my whole body attempting to touch him, jumping halfway over the cordon rope and managed to get my right arm into the car and grabbed somone's tie and lapel. However, I can't be sure it was his because the bodies in front of me were blocking my view. Someone slapped my hand loose and I let go--and just then he definitely looked my way and smiled his toothy Kennedy warmth.

As we watched the election returns about 24 or so hours later, our cheers for victory were destroyed before our eyes. And that's all I have to say about that.

I took Bobby Kennedy's death very hard. I was 12. He was supposed to come to Journal Square, the hub of Jersey City. But it rained heavy all day and he canceled.

Kathy C

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