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Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
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Published Tuesday, June 05, 2018 @ 12:05 PM EDT
Jun 05 2018

Many have compared 2018 to America's annus horribilis, 1968. I started that year as a 13 year ninth grader and ended it as a 14 year old tenth grader, enjoying the triumph of Apollo 8 and watching episodes of Star Trek during its original run on NBC.

But those months in between...

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In premiered, North Korea seized the Pueblo, the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, Walter Cronkite said Vietnam was "mired in stalemate," Robert Kennedy entered the presidential race, Johnson said he wouldn't run, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Hair opened on Broadway, the Supreme Court ruled that burning a draft card was not an act of free speech protected by the First Amendment, Andy Warhol was shot, RFK was assassinated, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia (nipping that Prague Spring nonsense in the bud), The Beatles' "Hey Jude" was released, the televised riots outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, CBS' "60 Minutes" debuted, the Boeing 747 was rolled out, the black power salute at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Nixon was elected president, a Farmington, WV mine explosion killed 78, Elvis had his comeback special, and Apollo 8 orbited the moon.

Lots of other things happened, but these I actually remember, and clearly. Or, more precisely, as a self-absorbed teenager I remember these events because they in turn generated events which affected me personally.

Take Laugh-In. I remember watching the pilot episode with my grandmother on that Monday night in January. It was a big deal, because it meant her missing the last half of Gunsmoke and all of Here's Lucy. To my delight and astonishment, Grandma loved the show and we watched it together for years. I remember being surprised that someone as old as my grandmother would get the jokes. I was also somewhat surprised to have just realized that I am now about the age my grandmother was when Laugh-In first aired.

I remember my grandmother waking me up for summer band camp, crying and yelling "they shot Bobby! God help us!" I did trudge the ten blocks to the high school that morning, but the band director, Jerry Veeck, gave us the option of going home or staying in the band room and listening to the radio. I remember two songs on the charts that week: Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" ("Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you...") and Richard Harris' "MacArthur Park" ("I will take my life into my hands and I will use it; I will win the worship in their eyes, and I will lose it...")

Yet somehow, at the end of the December, I remainded optimistic. I felt, like many, that Apollo 8 had salvaged an otherwise horrific year. And we had somehow survived.

June 2018 feels a lot like June 1968. The current administration fills me with the same sense of dread I had that summer after RFK was killed. And society seems to be regressing, losing some of what we've apparently taken for granted the past half-century.

But at lot can happen in six months. Let's work so that it will happen.


Categories: 1968, 2018, Apollo 8, Hair, Laugh-In, Lyndon B. Johnson, MacArthur Park, Mrs. Robinson, Richard Harris, Richard Nixon, Robert F. Kennedy, Simon and Garfunkel, The Daily KGB Report, Walter Cronkite


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Quotes of the day: Robert F. Kennedy
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Published Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @ 5:14 AM EST
Nov 20 2013

Robert Francis Kennedy (November 20, 1925 - June 6, 1968), commonly known as "Bobby" or by his initials RFK, was an American politician, who served as a Senator for New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968. He was previously the 64th U.S. Attorney General from 1961 to 1964, serving under his older brother, President John F. Kennedy and his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1968 election. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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A revolution is coming- a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough- But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.

About one- fifth of the people are against everything all the time.

Are we like the God of the Old Testament, that we in Washington can decide which cities, towns, and hamlets in Vietnam will be destroyed? Do we have to accept that? I don't think we do. I think we can do something about it.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.

Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.

Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and then the total- of all those acts- will be written the history of this generation.

If we must act effectively we must deal with the world as it is. We must get things done.

It is not easy to plant trees when we will not live to see their flowering. But that way lies greatness. And in search of greatness we will find it- for ourselves as a nation and a people.

It is not enough to allow dissent. We must demand it.

It is not given to us to right every wrong, to make perfect all the imperfections of the world. But neither is it given to us to sit content in our storehouses- dieting while others starve, buying eight million new cars a year while most of the world goes without shoes. We are simply not doing enough.

It is the essence of responsibility to put the public good ahead of personal gain.

It should be clear that, if one man's rights are denied, the rights of all are in danger- that if one man is denied equal protection of the law, we cannot be sure that we will enjoy freedom of speech or any other of our fundamental rights.

Just because we cannot see clearly the end of the road, that is no reason for not setting out on the essential journey. On the contrary, great change dominates the world, and unless we move with change we will become its victims.

Nations around the world look to us for leadership not merely by strength of arms, but by the strength of our convictions. We not only want, but we need, the free exercise of rights by every American. We need the strength and talent of ever American. We need, in short, to set an example of freedom for the world- and for ourselves.

Only earthbound man still clings to the dark and poisoning superstition that his world is bounded by the nearest hill, his universe ends at river shore, his common humanity is enclosed in the tight circle of those who share his town or his views and the color of his skin.

Only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.

The challenge of politics and public service is to discover what is interfering with justice and dignity for the individual here and now, and then to decide swiftly upon the appropriate remedies.

The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress.

The enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society.

The essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer- not just to the wealthy, not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race, but to all its people.

The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic towards common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects.

The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use- of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public.

The road toward equality of freedom is not easy, and great cost and danger march alongside us.

Violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

We can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

We know full well the faults of our democracy- the handicaps of freedom- the inconvenience of dissent. But I know of no American who would not rather be a servant in the imperfect house of Freedom, than be a master of all the empires of tyranny.

We must continue to prove to the world that we can provide a rising standard of living for all men without the loss of civil rights or human dignity to any man.

We must recognize the full human equality of all of our people before God, before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this, not because it is economically advantageous, although it is; not because the laws of God command it, although they do; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.

What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.


Categories: Quotes of the day, Robert F. Kennedy


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Robert F. Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968)
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Published Wednesday, June 06, 2012 @ 9:02 AM EDT
Jun 06 2012


Categories: Robert F. Kennedy


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