Sunday, August 20, 2006

Things That Never Were

PBS is again showing the RFK episode of American Experience. I've seen it several times, and it gets to me every time. I'm certainly not the first to say so, but that it's been said often doesn't make it any less worth saying: this would be such a different country had RFK not been assassinated.

Some of my favorite RFK recitations:

Some people see things as they are and ask, "Why?"
I dream of things that never were and ask, "Why not?"
-- George Bernard Shaw

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who,
in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
-- Dante

He who learns must suffer.
And 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

A favorite RFK anecdote:

During his 1968 presidential campaign, one of his aides asked something along the lines of: "Bobby, I don't understand. You were in favor of the death penalty when you were Attorney General. Now, you're against it. What's changed?"

RFK's response: "I read Camus."


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