Robert Kennedy, fully Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy

Robert
Kennedy, fully Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy
1925
1968

American Politician, Senator, U.S. Attorney General, Assassinated during his Presidential Campaign, known as RFK, brother of President John F. Kennedy

Author Quotes

There are children in the United States with bloated bellies and sores of disease on their bodies. ... There are children in the United States who eat so little that they fall asleep in school and do not learn. We must act, and we must act now. ... These are our responsibilities. If we cannot meet them, we must ask ourselves what kind of a country we really are; we must ask ourselves what we really stand for. We must act--and we must act now.

We know full well the faults of our democracy, the handicaps of freedom, the inconvenience of dissent. But I know of no American who would not rather be a servant in the imperfect house of freedom, than be a master of all the empires of tyranny.

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.

We know that freedom has many dimensions. It is the right of the man who tills the land to own the land; the right of the workers to join together to seek better conditions of labor; the right of businessmen to use ingenuity and foresight to produce and distribute without arbitrary interference in a truly competitive economy. It is the right of government to protect the weak; it is the right of the weak to find in their courts fair treatment before the law. It is the right of all our citizens to engage without fear or constraint in the discussion and debate of the great issues which confront us all. We understand this regardless of the extent to which we may differ in our political views. We know that argument in the open is one of the sources of our national strength.

There is discrimination in New York, the racial inequality of apartheid in South Africa and serfdom in the mountains of Peru. People starve in the streets of India; a former Prime Minister is summarily executed in the Congo; intellectuals go to jail in Russia; thousands are slaughtered in Indonesia; wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils; but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, the defectiveness of our sensibility toward the sufferings of our fellow human beings at home and around the world. It is these qualities which make of youth today the only true international community. More than this I think that we could agree on what kind of world we want to build. It would be a world of independent nations, moving toward international community, each of which protected and respected basic human freedoms. It would be a world which demanded of each government that it accept its responsibility to insure social justice. It would be a world of constantly accelerating economic progress-not material welfare as an end in itself, but as a means to liberate the capacity of each human being to pursue his talents and his hopes. It would, in short, be a world we would be proud to have built.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge. Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

The greatest truth must be recognition that in every man, in every child is the potential for greatness.

There is no substitute for athletics.

We must recognize the full human equality of all our people--before God, before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this, not because it is economically advantageous--although it is; not because the laws of God and man command it--although they do command it; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.

The help and the leadership of South Africa or of the United States cannot be accepted if we, within our own country or in our relationships with others, deny individual integrity, human dignity, and the common humanity of man. If we would lead outside our borders, if we would help those who need our assistance, if we would meet our responsibilities to mankind, we must first, all of us, demolish the borders which history has erected between men within our own nations ? barriers of race and religion, social class and ignorance. Our answer is the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress. This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.

There's a way to log many of these rainforests without destroying them, to do it sustainably. And we've seen the beginnings of that. The work of Ian and Karen McAllister has been invaluable,

What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason. Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

The path of innovation is never easy. Change is always painful. But it is the only path with the promise of saving our cities, the only path with the potential of bringing forth the resources needed for the task ahead. In our central cities are millions of Americans who have too long been denied a share in the American dream. And the gap is widening. Therefore we must join together-the people of the neighborhood, government, private enterprise, foundations, and universities-in an effort of unprecedented scope. The future of our nation demands that.

This is a Day of Affirmation, a celebration of liberty. We stand here in the name of freedom. At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society.

What is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.

The plight of the cities--the physical decay and human despair that pervades them--is the great internal; problem of the American nation, a challenge which must be met. The peculiar genius of America has been its ability, in the face of such challenges, to summon all our resources of mind and body, to focus these resources, and our attention and effort, in whatever amount is necessary to solve the deepest and most resistant problems. That is the commitment and the spirit required in our cities today.

This is not about character assassination... This is about questioning the ideology of a person who has continuously throughout her career made, really, a life's work of eroding and destroying the mission of the department she is now being named to lead.

What is the price tag on equal justice under law? Has simple justice a price which we as a profession must exact? Helplessness does not stem from the absence of theoretical rights. It can stem from an inability to assert real rights. The tenants of slums, and public housing projects, the purchasers from disreputable finance companies, the minority group member who is discriminated against--all these may have legal rights which--if we are candid--remain in the limbo of the law.

The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.

This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.

What matters about this country cannot be put into simple slogans; it is a process, a way of doing things and dealing with people... a way of life. There are two major ways to communicate what this country is really about: to bring people here, or to send Americans abroad.

The responsibility of our time is nothing less than a revolution. A revolution that would be peaceful if we are wise enough; humane if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough. But a revolution will come whether we will it or not. We can affect it's character, we cannot alter its inevitability.

Time and time again the American people, facing danger and seemingly insurmountable odds, have mobilized the ingenuity, resourcefulness, strength, and bravery to meet the situation and triumph. In this long and critical struggle, the American system of free enterprise must be our major weapon. We must continue to prove to the world that we can provide a rising standard of living for all men without the loss of civil rights or human dignity to any man.

What my father said about businessmen applies to liberals ... They're sons of bitches. The people who are selfish are interested in their own singular course of action and do not take into consideration the needs or requirements of others and what can ultimately be accomplished.

The responsibility of our time is nothing less than to lead a revolution--a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; humane if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough--but a revolution which will come whether we will it or not. We can affect its character: we cannot alter its inevitability...America is, after all, the land of becoming--a continent which will be in ferment as long as it is America, a land which will never cease to change and grow. We are as we act. We are the children and the heirs of revolutions and we fulfill our destiny only as we advance the struggle which began in Santa Fe in 1580, which continued in Philadelphia in 1776 and Caracas in 1811--and which continues today.

Author Picture
First Name
Robert
Last Name
Kennedy, fully Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy
Birth Date
1925
Death Date
1968
Bio

American Politician, Senator, U.S. Attorney General, Assassinated during his Presidential Campaign, known as RFK, brother of President John F. Kennedy