For those of us that have been inspired by the idealism of Bobby Kennedy, who died when I was a little boy, this morning has been somewhat emotional. I woke up this morning listening to news that Barack Obama was officially the democratic nominee and that Hillary had finally thrown in the towel (at least she will come this friday or saturday). The next story on the news featured an interview with Ted Sorensen–Kennedy’s old speechwriter–, who reminisced about the the Kennedy brothers and RFK’s presidential campaign which ended forty years ago today.
Sorensen charted Bobby Kennedy’s evolution during the five year period following JFK’s death in 1963. That growth and where his thinking culminated during spring 1968 is what makes Bobby nostalgia so resonant and salient after 40 years. Although I have only faint memories, that spring was a moment of idealistic potential: to end the war and heal dramatics drifts in the body politic.
Now flash forward to the now, to what Obama defines as “our moment.” The country stands at the brink of recapturing the lost spirit of Bobby Kennedy; the brink of making hopes and dreams that he embodied, into a reality under Barack Obama. Naming Caroline Kennedy to the VEEP search committee is more than a little symbolic. Caroline can help these disembodied hopes and dreams to materialize in a presidential ticket that stands committed to implementing the dreams of her uncle and father.
I’m not calling for a return to the ’60s. And granted, the times are quite different and differences between the two men are myriad, but what stands out this morning is that the emotions evoked in the name of each man, and the ideas they embody, are strikingly similar.
Wow. This IS quite a moment. Let’s see.