Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Hillary and RFK
No one seems to be considering the context in which Hillary made her now infamous comment. We both were raised in the privileged suburbs of Chicago by conservative parents. She was a college student, as I was, when Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Still reeling from Dr. King's murder just months earlier, Bobby's death was another painful, bewildering blow. The year was 1968 and all hell was breaking loose. The "conflict" in Viet Nam was clearly a mistake and universally unpopular. The civil rights movement had become more militant after Dr. King's murder. Our classmates were being drafted into the military, forced to fight and die for something many didn't support. In this context, a political battle was playing out to widespread media coverage. To see, in real time, a favorite son dying on the floor of a hotel kitchen, surrounded by panic and pain, left an indelible mark on our still young minds. In 2008 the significance of that year has been extensively reported and editorialized. Senator Clinton is not stupid, nor is she a racist. She is a product of her times, moved by horrifying events 40 years ago that were recently rehashed (no pun intended) in the news. She has no death-wishes for her competition. Her comment about Bobby Kennedy, I believe, was a reference to the fact that the campaign is not over now as it wasn't in June 1968. It was awkward maybe, but not malevolent.