Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Obama on VT/ Kennedy on Senseless Violence 40 years ago

In his speech on Monday, Barak Obama responds to the VT massacre. While some of it is rambling and stretches "violence" in a way that will cause others to call him inarticulate or dismiss the main point, there are some wonderfully powerful themes, many of which he takes from the great Robert Kennedy (kudos to Obama's researchers). Barak and Robert make the same points I have regarding our love affair with violence in America and its consequences, but without the incoherence, typos and pathos.

from Kennedy's speech (quoted by Obama):

'Whenever any Americans' 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.'

'Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common
humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper
reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie
and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of
all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they

Here is the text of the Obama speech.
Here is Kennedy's original speech On the Mindless Menace of Violence (tour de force and sadly topical 40 years later).

tip of the hat to Jesus Politics.

btw, in case you think I am being partisan, I was impressed and moved by George W. Bush's words at yesterday's convocation.

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