Moral Leadership

    This 2008 documentary, "A Ripple of Hope", tells a moving story about the night of Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968. Robert F. Kennedy, then campaigning for the presidency, was scheduled to appear in a black area of Indianapolis. With rioting in cities throughout the country he was strongly advised to cancel his campaign appearance. He declined to do so and made the sort of speech that we desperately could use about now. Here is part of that not long speech:

    For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with -- be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

    But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.

    My favorite poem, my -- my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

    Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
    falls drop by drop upon the heart,
    until, in our own despair,
    against our will,
    comes wisdom
    through the awful grace of God.

    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.

    So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King -- yeah, it's true -- but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love -- a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

    We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past, but we -- and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.

    But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

    And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

    Thank you very much.

    A Ripple of Hope (2008)



    Welcome back, Dreamer!

    ditto in the extreme!

    Not sure if I am back, or what that means.  But regardless, I very much appreciate the warmth and kindness from you two. Thank you.

    FWIW, Mr. Romney is putting his Mormon elder thing where his mouth is:

    The 2012 GOP presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts warned of “an unraveling of our national fabric” if the president doesn’t take “remedial action in the extreme.”
    @ WaPo, Aug. 18, one can find paywall-free coverage elsewhere.

    He did fine here, mho. But while it works for liberal and national morals in this situation, in the past I see Mormon elder morals haven't always.(is an old WaPo link about his work as a Bishop)

    We might want to be careful about investing our top leadership with too much of the role of moral leader. It was certainly used against Bill Clinton with the Monica Lewinsky thing. Separation of church and state and all.

    More than a little different, definitely not eloquent, but same goal:

    Schwarzenegger writes a speech for Trump (CNN link)

    In a video by ATTN:, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger calls out hate groups in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has a message for President Trump.

    "'That stain of bloodshed': After King's assasination, RFK calmed an angry crowd with an unforgettable speech", Michael S. Rosenwald, WaPo today:

    ​The following day, RFK gave a speech at the National Press Club in DC, his only presidential campaign "event" of the day, called "The Mindless Menace of Violence":

    Listening to the recording yesterday, in the wake of year after year of senseless violence in our country, brought William Faulkner's comment to mind: "The past is never dead.  It's not even past."

    Also just out: The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, David Margolick:


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