Robert Kennedy In His Own Words
In the introduction to a new collection of Robert Kennedy’s speeches, Edwin O. Guthman and Rick Allen write that “memories of Robert Kennedy have been summoned over the fifty years since his death, by biographers, painters, filmmakers, novelists and tabloid scribblers — and by virtually every Democratic candidate for president since 1968.”
Why has RFK remained captivating? Speechwriter Jeff Greenfield explained in The Daily Beast
For his detractors—and they are legion—it is little more than the rose-colored distortions of sentimentalists or naïve liberals. For his acolytes, it is the loss of what would have been a Restoration, a return to the earlier years of the 1960s, before the War, before the racial and cultural divides that cleaved a country. (As one sign had it during a Kennedy rally in Indiana in 1968: “Camelot Again!”)
Now, a new [ Netflix] documentary, “Bobby Kennedy for President” revisits RFK’s 1968 campaign. But The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert notes that the documentary is “really about his significance within politics” and wondering “how different America might be if his supposed destiny had been allowed to play out.”
Fifty years after his death, we’ll reflect on Robert Kennedy’s life and legacy.
Rick Allen, Former deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton; author, “RFK: His Words for Our Times”; @CRichardAllen
Dawn Porter, Director, “Bobby Kennedy for President”; @dawnporterm
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