Soon after Robert Kennedy announced his candidacy in 1968, he spoke at Kansas University. I encourage you to read the entire speech…required reading..
As I caught up on the ATH tonight, I couldn’t help thinking about RFK’s heart breaking and tragic run for the presidency. Before you read this quote, if you don’t know William Allen White, as I didn’t, please click the link so you’ll get the sarcasm.
I’m glad to come here to the home of the man who publicly wrote: “If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all the youthful vision and vigor, then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come out of our college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.” And despite all the accusations against me, those words were not written by me, they were written by that notorious seditionist, William Allen White. And I know what great affection this university has for him. He is an honored man today, here on your campus and around the rest of the nation. But when he lived and wrote, he was reviled as an extremist and worse. For he spoke, he spoke as he believed. He did not conceal his concern in comforting words. He did not delude his readers or himself with false hopes and with illusions. This spirit of honest confrontation is what America needs today. It has been missing all too often in the recent years and it is one of the reasons that I run for President of the United States.
For we as a people, we as a people, are strong enough, we are brave enough to be told the truth of where we stand. This country needs honesty and candor in its political life and from the President of the United States. But I don’t want to run for the presidency – I don’t want America to make the critical choice of direction and leadership this year without confronting that truth. I don’t want to win support of votes by hiding the American condition in false hopes or illusions. I want us to find out the promise of the future, what we can accomplish here in the United States, what this country does stand for and what is expected of us in the years ahead. And I also want us to know and examine where we’ve gone wrong. And I want all of us, young and old, to have a chance to build a better country and change the direction of the United States of America.
This morning I spoke about the war in Vietnam, and I will speak briefly about it in a few moments. But there is much more to this critical election year than the war in Vietnam.
It appears today that partisan politics and running the constant campaign is more important than literally everything.
The title of this post also comes from that RFK speech in Kansas (see previous link). In 1824, Daniel Webster opposed expanding the United States further into the Great Plains. Today I think the vast and worthless area is called the Democratic Party.