As I traveled this day to Chicago to bear witness to and against an organization wholly culpable for the murder of countless and uncounted persons in the name of war, undaunted power and greed, I recalled words which Bobby Kennedy spoke to the world only moments before he was shot and only hours before he was dead. A few minutes before declaring victory in the California primary, then presidential candidate Robert Kennedy gave an interview in which he gave extraordinary voice to ordinary people whom the United States was killing in Viet Nam, without cause or reason or care. The deaths of these people in that foreign land, as well as the deaths of the soldiers who were killing them, were reason and cause enough for Senator Kennedy to proclaim that “we just have to change our policies.” He “hoped that the Democratic Party would recognize that.” Kennedy stated: “Six months ago we were concerned about bombing Hanoi because we’re going to kill civilians. Now we’re killing larger numbers of them as we’re bombing Saigon.”
Robert Kennedy knew that the only way to stop the killing of Vietnamese civilians was to end the war forevermore. Before he could do so, he was assassinated and the slaughter and bombing in Southeast Asia continued unabated.
I, for one, have come to Chicago this week to echo the voice of Bobby Kennedy while the NATO ministers of war and the head of the “Democratic Party” conspire with each other to militarily and economically dominate the world with impunity, no matter the cost. But cost is not the issue here. I have come to Chicago to be the voice of those who NATO and President Obama deem fit to kill and maim and destroy without cause or reason or care. I am not here, however, to barter on their behalf. I am not here to trade the beneficent sparing of their lives for more American jobs or better health care. The lives this government takes so cavalierly around the globe are priceless and I will not equate those lives nor reduce those souls to matters of US economics. They are, to my mind, incomparable. The wars must end and the killing must stop, even if they cost nothing and deprived no one of anything.
My thinking or hoping that the current Democratic Party will recognize the need for a change in policy regarding ending its wars and sparing civilian lives as Robert Kennedy did is a pipedream. Nevertheless, thousands will gather in Chicago this week to at least try to make that dream come to pass because we must.
Ted Kennedy said it best as he spoke at his brother’s funeral:
“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: ‘Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”
Ironically and perhaps cosmically, the last words Bobby Kennedy uttered in pubic were: “And now it’s on to Chicago and let’s win there.”