Friday, June 6, 2008

Bobby Kennedy and Barack Obama


Obama picks up message that RFK popularized

By HARRY BOYTE and STEVEN HAHN

Minneapolis Star Tribune
June 5, 2008

The furor over Hillary Clinton's remark about Robert Kennedy's assassination has obscured a deeper comparison between Barack Obama and the late senator. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign spoke to themes of grass-roots politics and shared governance that the Obama campaign has exemplified. Kennedy also succeeded in attracting much the same coalition of blacks and other racial minorities, young people, professionals, and blue-collar whites and ethnics that Obama seeks to galvanize.
On this, the 40th anniversary of Kennedy's murder, his campaign holds instructive lessons for Obama's.

Like Obama, Kennedy ran against an unpopular war and against the political establishment in his own party, closely tied in 1968 to the sitting president, Lyndon Johnson. But at a time of deepening social and political divisions at home, he focused chiefly on the domestic challenges and sought a "new politics" to address them. Seared by the death of his brother and inspired by the example of the civil-rights movement, Kennedy ran on a platform promoting racial and economic justice, ending the Vietnam War, and decentralizing power that touched older American themes concerning the shared work of citizenship. His campaign especially looked to engage young people, whom he saw as the future of a revitalized America, recalling its ideals of equality and partnership.

After Kennedy's tragic death, others carried on this legacy. One was Barbara Mikulski, the senator from Maryland who got her start as a community organizer in Baltimore and came to recognize that "the ethnic American feels unappreciated for the contribution he makes to society."

"What is needed," she said in 1969, "is an alliance of white and black, white collar, blue collar and no collar based on mutual need, interdependence and respect, an alliance to develop the strategy for new kinds of community organization and participation."

Other activists played pivotal roles outside of electoral politics. The late Monsignor Geno Baroni, a priest from an immigrant coal-mining family in Pennsylvania, served as Catholic coordinator of the great 1963 March on Washington. For years thereafter, Baroni worked with community organizations across the nation to bring people together across divides of race, faith and class. He learned that "the organizer has to believe that ordinary people can build bridges across racial and ethnic lines" and "has to get ordinary people in touch with their roots, their heritage, their best. The organizer has to give ordinary people hope."

Barack Obama's developing plans for creating partnerships between government and citizens resonate powerfully with these experiences and histories. They build on and elaborate the foundations of New Deal reforms, the "maximum feasible participation" elements of Great Society programs, the self-help initiatives pioneered by Baroni as assistant secretary of housing and urban development in the Carter administration, and the work of the Environmental Protection Agency with local communities during the Clinton years. They also seek to update these practices for a world in which new technologies and civic methods allow innovative forms of partnership.

A vision of democracy as shared civic governance promises to transform our understandings of political life. Over the past 30 years, growing numbers of Americans -- especially white working people and members of the struggling middle class, but also young people -- have come to regard the government as a site of their own disempowerment and the public sector as an arena of dependency, and they have joined in the demonization of both. As a result, since the 1990s Democrats have generally argued for smaller government but until now haven't offered anything substantial, conceptual or active to accompany it. There can hardly be a progressive politics when we downsize without energizing.

The shared work of citizenship is a powerful expression of Barack Obama's call for one America. The complex history of interracial politics consistently demonstrates that the key to any substantial and lasting coalition is the opportunity for people to work together, to learn more about each other, to meet one another in circumstances that are not burdened by social hierarchies. Obama's ideas about democracy and governance, and about partnerships and participation, take account of this history and enable his campaign to enliven Bobby Kennedy's vision of a better world. And, as we commemorate Kennedy's tragic death, Obama, like Kennedy a generation ago, may ask, "why not?"

20 comments:

Sean said...

moving and beautiful.

Rustler45 said...

EXLAX does the same.

Betty said...

Yeah, Russy, I've seen your wife so you must find what EXLAX produces as beautiful.

Rustler45 said...

Batty Betty said...
Yeah, Russy, I've seen your wife so you must find what EXLAX produces as beautiful.

RUSTLER ASKS: WHAT??? You've seen my wife???? O BOY!!! Just what I needed a clam smackin' window peeper!

Rustler45 said...

Hey here's an article for you Moonbats for Obama More on global warming in Seattle.

Obama's going to solve global warming for us isn't he?

Rustler45 said...

Hey Batty Betty,
Here's an article for you. They even give you the solution you need. Check the picture in the article called
"Denver Moonbats Terrified of Messing Their Pants." When you get to Moonbattery it's the 7th article down the page. On your way there you might read the other articles about you, Obama and other liberals (moonbats).

Have a nice day Batty!

Milehimama said...

How is relaunching the "Great Society" going to help our deficit?

What I'd like to see right now is a plan for the current fuel cost crisis. What's Obama's grand plan? Inquiring minds want to know.

Betty said...

RUSTLER ASKS: WHAT??? You've seen my wife???? O BOY!!! Just what I needed a clam smackin' window peeper!

Hey, Russy, dont' worry, you weren't doing anything, You musta run out of Vigara again.

hahhahahahahahahahahaha

Mark said...

Milehimama
Good question. Also, we have to ask ourselves What is John McCain's Grand Plan? I suspect his plan is business as usual. Gas holidays?
We are at least 35 years behind the curve on this issue. We have to start thinking long term instead of reaching for band aids. Our past leaders ignored this issue for decades now we are paying the price.
The war in Iraq is not helping. There are too many war profiteers....Why are we fighting this war? Lower gas prices? Look at how much the price of crude has escalated during the years we have been at war. Why are we fighting this war? To defeat the terrorist?
I got news...Middle Eastern terrorist are winning the war everytime we fill our gas tanks. Part of the $4 per gallon we pay for gas feeds an economy of terrorist organizations.Think about it... the Bin Laden family are oil Billonares!!
Iran is the 2nd largest producer of Oil(opec). We have to start thinking in the long term. Will John McCain do this? I think not. He will continue the selling out of the USA all in the name of GOD,WAR,and COUNTRY! We have got to start drawing a line in the sand and looking for other energy sources. I feel Obama will at least start the process.
John McCain has been in Washington for 30 plus years...he is an EXPERIENCED career politician with 30 years of favors to re-pay. That alone is reason enough for me to vote for Barak Obama.
Obama 08"

Milehimama said...

Not really sure why you answered my question with a rant against John McCain. Is it because Obama HAS no grand plan?

Rustler45 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Katherine said...

Rustler,

For the second time I am telling you I am deleting posts you make with references to masturbation. Please find a different topic to harp on.

Rustler45 said...

Milehimama said...
Is it because Obama HAS no grand plan?

BINGO MAMA!

You da babe!

Rustler45 said...

Katherine lied...
Rustler,

For the second time I am telling you I am deleting posts you make with references to masturbation. Please find a different topic to harp on.

RUSTLER REPLIES: I made no reference to such and you know it. I merely referred to Betty's dirty mind and her obsession with sex.

You are just looking for an excuse to delete my posts. Proof of the pudding is that you haven't deleted Betty's posts and she's the one who is obsessing over said subject.

This thread will be posted in my blog for reference in the future.

Rustler45 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Katherine said...

Rustler,

A woman's private parts are something holy and special. Posting vuglar terms is not permitted here.

Rustler45 said...

YOU ARE A LIAR

And what vulgar terms? Again you lied and I am keeping track of it.

I never mentioned any such thing.

You deleted my post because I put a link to my forum. And that's the only reason.

dynphna said...

Betty was the one used the vulgarities, Katherine. You know it. You were just practicing up on your Commie tactics, right? But hey...why should lying bother an Abortionist like you?

Anonymous said...

The fact remains that Obama comes across as mealy-mouthed and disingenuous.
He FEELS WRONG.
There is something spoiled and unwholesome about the atmosphere around this man and his cohorts.
It is subtle,miasmic,but it is there nonetheless.
He strikes me as hypocritical and self-serving.
His tapping of the ''Catholic'' Left has caused no doubts to remain in my estimation of his support of the Liberal intelligentsia in their attempts to corrupt and destroy Christian culture and civilization.
He is therefore to me an Enemy of Holy Mother Church,despite his own protestations of Catholic upbringing.
He must be deposed as soon as conveniently possible.
And his connections to the Radical left exposed.


Dominic.

Kurt said...

He must be deposed as soon as conveniently possible.

Ah, yes, just like Spain in 1936. A little fascist military take over.