The Watering Hole; Thursday June 9 2016; Remembrance and Requiem

Forty-eight years ago — June 4 1968 — Robert F. Kennedy won the Democratic Primary in California and was seemingly on his way to his party’s nomination for President. Then in the early morning  moments of June 5, only a short time after he was declared the winner in California, he was shot by a (presumably) lone assassin; he died within 24 hours. The end result, some six months later, was the election of Richard Nixon as President, at which point commenced the American transition from her recent New Deal and Civil Rights accomplishments (aka Progressivism) to a society driven by little more than avarice and the quest for power (aka “Conservatism”).

On the campaign trail in the months prior to his assassination, RFK spoke out for old-style We the People values, even as he was strongly critical of those whose efforts were driven by greed, by the allure of power and wealth, by those who found war to be the ideal means  to achieve those goals. RFK stood by and supported those millions who demanded an end to the atrocities in Vietnam; he stood by and supported the concept of prosperity for all via peace, not prosperity for the few via war.

 

RFK brilliantly summed-up the finer points that define the vast differences between the two nearly opposite schools of thought which are presumed to drive economic growth and, hence, prosperity. Here, courtesy of a recent Think Progress article is an audio recording of RFK’s words from a speech he gave at the University of Kansas on March 18, 1968, along with a transcription of those same words — a handy tool to enable further analysis and contemplation, to compare the conflicting philosophies which drive our current left-right political divide today, nearly five decades (along with much economic misery for most) later.

First, the audio:

The transcript:

Too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product — if we judge the United States of America by that — that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.

It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.

It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.

It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.

And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

Are we, as a nation, unable to ever learn? To master and enable that which makes living worthwhile as opposed to that which does little more than enable acquisition of wealth and power? What will this year’s election bring us? Trump appears to know only greed, and if he should score on his quest for power of the State, it seems a fair bet that he will, without hesitation, begin immediately the task(s) of disparaging the health of our children, the quality of their education . . . the joy of their play . . . the beauty of our poetry . . . the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate . . . the integrity of our public officials . . . [of]  our wit . . . our courage . . . our wisdom . . . our learning . . . our compassion . . . our devotion to our country,  . . . everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. Toss into the mix Trump’s predictably high rate of xenophobia, bigotry, misogyny, along with his already expressed tendency toward science denial, toward uninformed militarism, and suddenly the risk of planetary cataclysm soars, even as any hope for a better future vanishes.

As to whether the other principle option — Hillary Clinton — would be any better, about the only answer appears to be that at least she (hopefully) wouldn’t be as bad. At this point, it seems this country’s main hope — and major goal — should be that the Republican Party really DOES self-destruct thanks to Trump, and that the Democratic Party finally adopts the strongly progressive mission of the type that’s been advanced by Bernie Sanders. Maybe then the pathways leading to the diminishment and ultimate extinction of greed and the quest for power and wealth can be paved with all the gold that no longer will need to be hoarded.

I know. Dream on.

I’ve long felt that national failure is inevitable in this country, especially since we invariably seem to slam the door on each and every escape route leading away from those disastrous “Conservative” policies and programs which have been in place for who knows how many decades. It makes one wonder what things might be like today had Bobby Kennedy’s GNP/economic theses been put into place, starting with his presidency nearly fifty years ago. We’ll never know, of course; but we do KNOW — with certainty — the results of all those “Conservative” policies which have, unfortunately, been enacted during those five decades. And that knowledge is, without a doubt, the source of the economic sadness that has descended upon this country, as well as the source of the undercurrent of pessimism regarding our collective future.

Whereto from here?

As one who has watched the development of our collective dilemma(s) since well before RFK’s assassination, I have to wonder: might the following sonnet tell us everything about America . . . everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile?

REQUIEM: AMERICA

Requiem, as dirge of sophistic love,
Exposes destinies which nations earn.
Quoth Hamlet: “conscience does make cowards of
Us all” – that is, till We the People learn,
Implicitly, that human Cowardice
Exudes contempt for Rationalities.
Meanwhile, mankind’s destiny – Avarice –
Appears in service to those Vanities
Most shallowed minds presume to be their right,
Enabling failure thus of Self, of State.
Repression blooms and quickly dims all light
Intrinsic to the heart of Freedom’s Fate –
Consumed – whilst words of Truth, now specious, Moan
And stand as lifeless slogans, etched in stone.

******

OPEN THREAD

35 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday June 9 2016; Remembrance and Requiem

  1. I am not a conspiracy theory nut, but when you have three left leaning leaders taken out in a short time, who was the beneficiary of all of it? How coincidental that the righties got all their political agenda foisted upon America.

  2. A Trump supporter left a bumper sticker on my door. When he asked if I got it I told him how glad I was to have found it when I did – I was rushing to used the bathroom and discovered that there was no toilet paper. It came in handy.

    Today, the same fellow, who also had been beaming at the things Trump had been saying, now says Trump needs to learn to keep his mouth shut!

    One of my siblings’ son-in-law installs a product used on yachts. He was a Trump supporter until he learned about Donald’s penchant for not paying subcontractors.

    • Ya scooped me RUC….

      That, which came in from RUC a while ago, from Captain Obvious.

  3. It’s about time! Finally, the “librul media” has started to paint the picture of “Trumpy The Deadbeat”. Every democrat, journalist, and person who is invested in defeating him should keep harping on this story. Don’t even move on to the nuances of politics until and unless he and/or his minions are forced to answer the charges or flee the confrontation. I have been saying it for months.

    “Trumpy didn’t get where he is today by making deals, he got here by breaking them”.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/06/revealed-hundreds-of-claimants-say-deadbeat-donald-trump-doesnt-pay-his-bills/comments/#disqus

    • The stories of how he screwed immigrant Polish builders and made them work in deunionized and unsafe environments while they built Trump Tower using Gambino family concrete … good times….. but Joe the Fuckwit doesn’t know, doesn’t care, just wants “Trump to be Trump”

      • Yep. It would be nice if someone in the “librul media” took Trumpy’s @3,500 court cases as a starting point and tried to find out what percentage of people he has “made deals” with would ever agree to a second “deal”. We know that number is less than 100% and I have a sneaking suspicion that the number is closer to 0%.

  4. RudeOne snuck into Drumpf’s New Jersey speech the other day and had a somber and downbeat assessment:

    “I left Briarcliff Manor despairing about the nation. Millions of people had voted for this charlatan. And the next five months are going to be just awful. I told Jeff on the drive back that I think that Trump is going to lose, but he’s going to do real harm to the country. He doesn’t give a shit how much hate and violence he causes. He can just helicopter away from it, off to his next playground for the ludicrously rich, floating above us, pretending he knows us.”

  5. Watch Liz’s speech today at the American Constition Society when it comes available. Damn she laid it on trump, McConnell and Ryan. Go Liz!!!!

  6. Ok here’s the C&L post on the poll about Drumpf calling A federal judge biased because ‘he’s Mexican’ – ‘textbook racism’ said Paul Ryan.

    Take a look at the poll and look hard at the implications here.

    Only half of Americans think what Drumpf said is racist (and you know which half)

    I think the more disturbing thing to me is not the racist thing (I know, it’s pretty fookin racist to label someone a certain way because of their parentage and because of that infer a certain behaviour – as Paul Ryan squeaked – “its textbook”). Its the underlying fact that if Drumpf really thought he could bully this judge off the case on the basis that ‘he’s a Mexican’, then he’d have had his army of pondlife lawyers file the objection that same day. But he didn’t because he knows there is no legal standing for recusal for “I don’t like spics and m’lud is a spic so you will rule against me because you are as racist a bastard as I am, with respect m’lud”

    I don’t think the poll went into the question that I think should have been asked and maybe I am inferring cause and effect but stay with me here.

    1. 1/2 the country and 80% of Republicans don’t think Drumpf was racist
    2. Does this mean that 80% of Republicans don’t think he did anything wrong?
    3. And then does this mean 80% of Republicans think it is just fine to attack a judge’s credibility to judge this case on the basis of a perceived hostility to one of the case parties based on an unrelated position that party took?
    4. Do 80% of Republicans therefore agree that it is perfectly fine for a candidate for high office to attempt to nakedly and without restraint choose which judges preside over that candidate’s sleazy fraud lawsuit?

    And if you at are 4 and are still in agreement with my thinking, where does this stop? And what clearer indication of how dictatorial a Drumpf presidency would be do you need and do 80% of Republicans think that’s just a-ok?

    We are on the precipice and staring into an abyss.

    • It indicates contempt for our entire legal system. While I’m sure there are biased, and stupid (Stanford rape case), judges if we believe in our system of government we have to believe that those who rise to the serve in higher courts are capable of judging based on the actual law regardless of their personal feelings about the parties involved, and that there is recourse for those to whom the law may be unfairly applied.

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