Wednesday, March 2, 2011
March 2, 2011
Old names today. Old memories. Old grief.
There's a parole hearing in the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California, today for a Palestinian Christian named Sirhan Sirhan, now 63, who shot and killed Robert Kennedy just after he'd won the California Democratic presidential primary in 1968. Kennedy was running against Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Senator Eugene McCarthy. With Kennedy dead Humphrey went on to win the nomination but lost the presidency, of course, to Richard Nixon.
One man wounded in the shooting, William Weisel, told CNN he would not oppose a decision to release Sirhan. I would.
It's not vengeance, exactly. It's the sense of loss I still feel. America was in terrible shape in 1968--bleeding from a useless war in Vietnam (sound familiar?) which we eventually lost, roiled at home by the murder of Martin Luther King. I was on assignment somewhere in Texas, I think. It was the middle of the night when the soundman called and said, "It's happened again." And God, it had.
Bobby was special. He believed in hope and change, believed that one man could make a difference. And if you don't join in this effort, he used to ask, who will? I don't know. A lot of us might have, I think. We just never had the chance to find out.
"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God." – Aeschylus as quoted by RFK on 4 April 1968