The word “Hope” is used a lot when talking about many of the great politicians who lives were cut too short. The 1960’s especially was a critical turning point in our country’s history, when the decade began with the word “Hope”. When President John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the United States, he brought the word to the forefront of American politics. The young president spoke strong words in his inauguration speech, and left the country believing that our future was in good hands. As we know, his presidency was cut short and with his death, the word “Hope” was soon lost on that day in Dallas. Our hope for the future was no longer in his hands; instead it was left with a President who had a different agenda and a different mindset then that of his predecessor. No one could believe that Lyndon Johnson would continue the work that JFK had sought for the country, not even JFK’s brother Robert could believe it. When John Kennedy died on November 22nd, 1963 it would feel like the hope of the nation had left with him.
It would be 5 years before the word “Hope” would once again come in front of the American people. A decision so many had hoped he would make, Senator Robert F. Kennedy decided to run for President of the United States 50 years ago this month. A turning point was on the horizon in American politics as Lyndon Johnson had turned into a hated figure, and hope was all but lost with him sitting in the Oval Office. Unable to sit back, and seeing an opportunity to bring back the word “Hope”, RFK made a decision to run. What transpired was a campaign that lasted for 3 months and instantly brought back that same breath of fresh air that JFK had brought 8 years before. The American people needed a leader like RFK to inspire them, to lead them, and to bring everyone together. The year 1968 in history books, is one that is filled with hatred and violence, but some of that could have changed had RFK been able to fulfill his destiny. Instead, destiny took a turn on the night of June 4th, 1968 as RFK was shot and killed having just won the Democratic primary in California. The speech RFK gave before his death was filled with the same hope and inspiring message of unity that he had been speaking about for the past 3 months on the campaign trail. Now that voice was silent, and another Kennedy’s life was cut too short to fully bring “Hope” to a reality.
Now as we look back on what could have been 50 years later, we are still tormented by the word “Hope”. To some, hope was lost on November 22, 1963, but to many, hope died on the day RFK took his last breath. We have seen over the years those who have tried to replicate the Kennedy flare, and bringing back “Hope”, but it is never the same and they are never able to come through. The country lost its faith in politicians in the 1960’s mostly in part to leaders like Johnson and Nixon, but that could have changed had Bobby won the election in 1968. We can never go back and time, but we can always think of what could have been scenario. By looking at the work someone had been putting in and seeing the belief that person had inn the country, makes you believe them to their word. Even though 50 years have passed, and he was never elected President of the United States, Robert Kennedy is just as beloved figure now as he was then. It is surrounded around the word “Hope”, a true belief that this man had the best interest in the country in mind and could have changed the course of history had he lived. I will end this post with the words of Ted Kennedy as he eulogized his brother Robert, “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”.
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images