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Uncle Jack's speech


Steven Gaal
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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

President, Waterkeeper Alliance; Professor, Pace University

Posted: January 11, 2011 07:57 PM

Tucson: Time for Another Examination of Conscience

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Uncle Jack's speech in Dallas was to have been an explosive broadside against the right wing. He found Dallas' streets packed five deep with Kennedy Democrats, but among them were the familiar ornaments of presidential hatred; high-flying confederate flags and hundreds of posters adorning the walls and streets of Dallas showing Jack's picture inscribed with "Wanted for Treason." One man held a posterboard saying, "you a traitor ." Other placards accused him of being a communist. When public school P.A. systems announced Jack's assassination, Dallas school children as young as the fourth grade applauded. A Birmingham radio caller declared that "any white man who did what he did for niggers should be shot." As my siblings and I visited the White House to console my cousins John and Caroline, a picket paraded out front with a sign, "God punished JFK."

Jack had received myriad warnings against visiting the right-wing Texas city. Indeed, there had been a sense of foreboding even within our family as he and Aunt Jackie prepared for the trip. Jack made an unscheduled trip to Cape Cod to say goodbye to my ailing grandfather. The night before the trip, Mummy found Jack distant and brooding at a dinner for the Supreme Court Justices. He was very fond of Mummy, but for the first time ever, he looked right through her.

Jack's death forced a national bout of self-examination. In 1964, Americans repudiated the forces of right-wing hatred and violence with an historic landslide in the presidential election between LBJ and Goldwater. For a while, the advocates of right-wing extremism receded from the public forum. Now they have returned with a vengeance -- to the broadcast media and to prominent positions in political landscape.

Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital room fighting for her life, and a precious nine-year-old girl is dead along with five others. Let's pray for them and for our country and hope this tragedy prompts another round of examination of conscience.

more:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/post_...

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