Not to get off topic and stray from the debates of this week, but I thought a few words from Robert Kennedy couldn't hurt.
This first quote was delivered in a speech to the University of Georgia Law School in 1961, by the then Attorney General, RFK. It is in reference to the 1954 landmark case, Brown V. The Board of Education, and I think it has some relevance to our recent debate on abortion and judicial decisions concerning individual rights.
"I happen to believe that the 1954 Supreme Court school desegregation decision was right. But my belief does not matter. It is the law. Some of you may believe the decision was wrong. That does not matter. It is the law."
The following quote is an excerpt from a speech delivered not five miles from where I am now, at the University of Cape Town. Another citation from this speech appears at Kennedy's tomb in Arlington National Cemetery. The speech was written by my own personal literary hero, Richard Goodwin, and should be printed out and read at every graduation ceremony in America. I'm a sucker for commencement speeches and the more idealist the better.
"Our answer is the world's hope: It is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress." (I'm telling you, read the whole speech.)
And lastly, I will just point you to a page describing the events that lead to RFK's impromptu speech to a group of African Americans in Indianapolis shortly after Martin Luther King had been assassinated and riots had broken out in cities across the country.
More of RFK:
- Check out more quotes.
- A fairly recent comparison between Obama and Kennedy in The Independent.
- A fairly recent commentary arguing against this comparison.
- A similar post with some same and some different quotations from RFK.