I have been obsessed with one thing for a few weeks now: The Kennedy’s. CNN is airing an amazing docu-series about the legendary American family…and one person in particular caught my eye. It’s common knowledge of JFK’s greatness, and many people know about the romanticized fantasy of Camelot. However, I had no idea that the political champion I should have been celebrating all these years is actually JFK’s younger brother, Bobby Kennedy.
After becoming interested in RFK, I sought out the best books on him. Chris Matthews’ (MSNBC anchor on Hardball) book Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit kept reappearing on the must-reads list for the Kennedys. So I bought it. Best decision ever? Definitely.
Matthews writes a very personal and heartfelt account of Bobby Kennedy’s life. Because Matthews was a college student during the height of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, many assassinations, and many other important events, he can accurately recollect the despair in America. Matthews acknowledges that these events were indeed tragic…but there were many bright lights of positivity at that time. And one of those lights was Robert Kennedy.
If you have ever fallen to the myth that JFK was the true president from 1960-1963…you’re mistaken. Bobby Kennedy was the closest thing America has ever had to a co-president…and half of the things that I assumed were JFK’s own decisions were actually Bobby’s. Bobby needs to be credited for all of the attention JFK paid to civil rights (he couldn’t be bothered). Bobby kept JFK collected during the Cuban Missile Crisis…the list goes on. Not only did I never know about Bobby’s influence, but I also didn’t know why.
In an America full of dishonest politicians, the idea of Bobby Kennedy is a breath of fresh air. He is remembered in history books as ruthless, (mainly due to his pursuit of organized crime), but RFK is truly gentle-hearted. I was moved to tears multiple times by his kind and caring nature. He truly cared about civil rights. He truly wanted to rectify all the bad in the world. He didn’t see America as a place where inequality had a home. He believed that we were required as a nation to assist those living in poverty. He began to staunchly oppose the Vietnam War. He singe-handedly wanted to right every injustice in this world.
If you didn’t know these things, PICK UP CHRIS MATTHEWS’ BOOK! I cannot imagine the world we would have lived in if we saw a RFK presidency. Would the world have been a better place? Would America be less divisive? More caring? We will never know. But Chris Matthews at least allowed me to imagine. I feel as if Bobby Kennedy was an old friend of mine, who I can now fondly look back on. As Americans, it is important that we recognize valuable characteristics in our leaders. This way, we can hope and pray that America finds another politician like Bobby Kennedy.