Pony Party: RFK Edition

Not his best speech, or the best video montage, but it struck me today as I watched.  It’s the same choice now, I think.  Basically.

I saw the happy lemurs in the earlier pony party thread and the discussion of whimsy, and almost took this down!  But it’s one of those moments in our time where the hinges creaked, the door moved open or shut, the world changed.

And this, 416 words from his Capetown speech in 1966, which I could find nowhere online in full, sharable video format.  I was two years old when he spoke these words:

  In a few hours, the plane that brought me to this country crossed over oceans and countries which have been a crucible of human history.  In minutes we traced migrations of men over thousands of years; seconds, the briefest glimpse, and we passed battlefields on which millions of men once struggled and died.  We could see no national boundaries, no vast gulfs or high walls dividing people from people; only nature and the works of man — homes and factories and farms — everywhere reflecting man’s common effort to enrich his life.  Everywhere new technology and communications brings men and nations closer together, the concerns of one inevitably become the concerns of all.  And our new closeness is stripping away the false masks, the illusion of differences which is at the root of injustice and hate and war.  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’s 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.

  It is your job, the task of the young people in this world to strip the last remnants of that ancient, cruel belief from the civilization of man.

  Each nation has different obstacles and different goals, shaped by the vagaries of history and of experience.  Yet as I talk to young people around the world I am impressed not by the diversity but by the closeness of their goals, their desires, and their concerns and their hope for the future.  There is discrimination in New York, the racial inequality of apartheid in South Africa, and serfdom in the mountains of Peru.  People starve to death in the streets of India; a former Prime Minister is summarily executed in the Congo; intellectuals go to jail in Russia; and thousands are slaughtered in Indonesia; wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere in the world.  These are different evils; but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfections of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, the defectiveness of our sensibility toward the sufferings of our fellows; they mark the limit of our ability to use knowledge for the well-being of our fellow human beings throughout the world.  And therefore they call upon common qualities of conscience and indignation, a shared determination to wipe away the unnecessary sufferings of our fellow human beings at home and around the world.

Comment, discuss, and be excellent to one another…Dr. Turing (it’s jessical in the mechanical turk today for 9 and 3 pacific) is in the lab and will be back with ponies as time allows…


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    • jessical on September 13, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    …next time, something frolicking.  Honest.

  1. http://www.docudharm

    “Building Resilient Communities”

    Oh please please please let me be the first essay pimp.

  2. Thanks for posting this!

    The K’s….despite all their faults, were the last successful unabashed idealist politicians in the US…..unless you count Carter….or the “ideals” of the Republicants, lol.

    And of course….look what happened to them.

    So….Until we find new courageous idealists (run Al, run!)….all we can do is….


  3. considering the circumstances, i think it was one of the best political speeches ever given.  in my heart it compares to jon stewart’s emotional return-to-tv speech on tds….

    …honest, heartfelt words, expressing the feeling of the time.  rare. brave.

    how many talking heads and politicians even speak their own words, much less their heart’s words, instead of carefully calculated brain-words?

    i think you made an excellent choice, and im saddened only in the contrast to our ‘leaders’ today.

    good job, turing… 😉

  4. I’m thinking about starting a regular essay series here called “Doing it for Ourselves” with the broad theme of self reliance. I envision it to be along the same lines as what Frankenoid does with the garden series, what claude does with his home repair series and boran with his painting series, but broader.

    I work in the area of historic and cultural preservation and would also like to offer advice to people/answer questions on how to preserve and repair their “stuff” and hopefully draw in other people with different expertise than mine to help contribute.

    My question is whether you all think this is a good idea and what would be a good day of the week and time to offer it?

    • plf515 on September 13, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    I have a diary to post, it’s full of images, but when I try to post, I get

    “Sorry, an unexplained error has occurred.  Please return to the home page”


  5. How do I post an essay, or diary or what ever we are calling it?  Or can I not do that yet?  Do I have to get a grandkid to help me with this?

  6. messages, too, and the same ones that were mentioned here.  On the Bus doesn’t know (so far) what the mysterious error messages are or why they are happening.  So maybe best to keep sending him specific examples.

    I’m talking to myself again at my morning post.  Please stop by and keep me from muttering to the wall.  :^)


    • ab ovo on September 13, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    and I was actually thinking of writing someting essay-ish!

  7. ah, nostalgia, when foreign wars were a blight not a “blessing” in the name of “freedom.”

    But for statesmanship anymore!

  8. to make such a speech today? Anyone?

    How I would love to hear it!  Thank you for this – I don’t think I’ve ever read it before.

  9. Yahoo! news democratic mashup

    i recommend the bill maher questions…

  10. I did a diary over at the Orange this morning offering to help people get to know Second Life – and the responses indicate a “how-to” diary would go over better.

    Would there be interest in a “how to SL” essay here?

    1. get that.  admins might even get more options..i dont know.

      i was a ‘user’ until monday…i only got
      -my page
      -new essay
      -your comments
      -log off

  11. into politics was RFK. I was 17 and worked in Oregon for his campaign. Saw him speak at Portland State and was smitten. All pols since then have failed to meet both his charisma  compassion, and toughness, but I keep hoping. His son is pretty great also! 

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