Fifty years ago today I attended a play on Broadway. The play was I Do I Do. It was a requirement for my senior English class. I would be graduating from high school in two weeks.
I don’t remember much of the play as, like most Americans, I was still in shock having heard the news of the previous day. After just winning the California Democratic primary and sealing up the nomination as President, Bobby Kennedy was shot down just minutes after this remarkable achievement.
My mother told me he had died and then I went downtown with a classmate to see the play.
On the heels of the Martin Luther King assassination just two months earlier RFK’s assassination was a death knell to the America of 1968.
Cities would burn, the war in Viet Nam divided our nation more than ever, and Richard Nixon was assured to be the successful candidate in November.
It isn’t hard to remember those turbulent times and the only benefit of doing so is to reassure ourselves that America in 2018 isn’t as bad as you might think.
Like his brother’s assassination, Bobby’s loss keeps you wondering what might have been.
Would the Viet Nam war have ended sooner and the Great Divide that it created and still permeates our society today have been avoided?
Would the hope of racial and economic equality have been realized?
Would we have faith in our leaders today?
I know there are those who are sick of political dynasties. Jeb Bush found that out in 2016 and so did Hillary. Indeed the mystique around the Kennedys still remains to a degree but even Camelot has lost some of its aura over the years. Despite the human flaws possessed by the Kennedys and RFK in particular, they always put Country above self.
1968 was a dreadful year.