By: Mark Glennon*
If you’ve never seen the speech Robert F. Kennedy gave off the cuff upon Martin Luther King’s assassination, watch it. It’s linked below. It was magnificent.
You’d think the primary point of that speech — his call for a peaceful reaction — would be honored and quickly echoed by his party after police shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha on Sunday.
As you can find across social media and in countless news articles, calls for peace from the left are almost entirely missing from reactions so far. It’s no surprise that rioters found another excuse for violence.
Robert Kennedy wasted no time asking for a peaceful response. His speech was, in fact, an announcement that MLK had been shot, while Kennedy was in Indianapolis. Riots followed in many dozens of cities across America. Indianapolis, however, was spared.
Among RFK’s words:
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….
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….
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.
Today, violence is widely accepted.
And if you haven’t seen some of the consequences in Kenosha, at least watch this couple, whose store was burned.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.