OOH, such a masculine mix of words now obsolete since they’d be considered inappropriate and more than a little politically incorrect.
But in the early 60s, JFK was so dazzling, with perhaps the exception of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) who was about to check out, who cared.
This was a time when men lived by the direction their balls took them in, common sense not always to follow. John Kennedy was the last of his kind unless you consider his younger brother, Robert, wrestling with his older brother’s testosterone tipped legacy that let’s face it, killed him.
If RFK hadn’t opted to pick up JFK’s gauntlet in 1968, he would have lived. Of course then who would he had been, not the man we still dream of who, if he had run and won, the country might have been saved, to quote writer, Pete Hamill.
I’ve been on a Bobby kick, reading 6 books still counting as I pen this.
He’s always been someone I’ve found fascinating beckoning me repeatedly to Arlington to pay my respects.
What impresses me more than the hop, skip and a jump in proximity to his brother’s snazzy grave, is the simple white cross gracing his. Talk about representing the man speaking eloquently of who is buried beneath it.
Of all the books I’ve exhumed from the library stacks laced with so much dust they’ve made me sneeze, my favorite has to be Jack Newfield’s (1938-2004) RFK: A Memoir, written in 1969, a year after Bobby died. It truly blew me away with its noble candor and reverence for a man who might have really been a great president. Newfield who began interviewing him two years before he died, was there when Bobby breathed his last making his story much different than the one he had intended to write.
It inspired me to rent Emilio Estevez’s film Bobby, made in 2006 at the actual Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles where he was mortally wounded, right before it was torn down.
I guess the state of California could use a stronger landmarks commission since as far as I’m concerned, that was hallowed ground so casually razed, for what…another strip mall or apartment complex?
When I think of our present leaders, with the exception of maybe golf, balls never come up. Bill Clinton was the last to have them, squeezed by a young, busty aide I’ll admit, but also flourishing a foreign policy impressive to read about providing we can forget about Monica long enough to even have an interest. But men in government nowadays just don’t have the same bluster and pluck of those gone by.
Obama’s take on anything is like thumbing through the Spiegal Catalog thinking, why am I bothering, it’s not like I’d ever buy anything in here. Our 44rd president leaves me flat, though I feel for him dueling with a Republican Congress resembling Spanky and Our Gang, who at least were funny.
When I read about the Bay of Pigs along with the chronic coup to kill Castro, and the senseless war in Vietnam we now see was a near apocalypse, one nonetheless can still hear the drums beat, raising passions of our citizens, even if they were misled by the Kennedy mystique.
Where am I going with all this?
I’m just still, all these years later, mighty impressed with Bobby Kennedy (who preferred being called Bob). Not with his brother he so loyally served whose death he never got over blaming himself, but his heart, despite Sirhan’s barrage of bullets, that never really stopped beating for the poor and oppressed.
The doctors at Good Samaritan Hospital, after declaring him brain-dead, couldn’t understand how his heart continued to beat so strongly.
I swear, I can hear it pound through all these pages I’ve been reading.
He’s my hero 47 years after his exit from the world as someone who might have made that difference.
RFK: A Memoir…1969, Jack Newfield
Assassination: RFK 1925-1968…1969, United Press
The Dark Side of Camelot…1997, Seymour H. Hersh
The Last Patrician… 1998, Michael Knox Beran
In Love With Night…2000, Ronald Steel
The Last Campaign…2008, Thurston Clarke