Almost 50 Years Later…

University of Kansas, March 18, 1968

Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – purpose and dignity – that afflicts us all.

Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.

It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.

It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.

It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.

And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in world.

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in less than ninety days after this speech on June 6, 1968.

11 thoughts on “Almost 50 Years Later…

  1. Lori, great post. And every time I see a photo of Bobby Kennedy, my heart cries a bit. I’m always telling Bonaparte that our world would have been so much better if Bobby Kennedy had gone on to become President.
    The days of kindness and goodness and love of humanity have been flustdown the toilet. It’s sad…..

    Like

  2. I was 13 and crying like a baby for a few days in a row. Bobby Kennedy seemed so special and caring! Thanks for reminding us all of the insight and poignancy of his warm views in taking care of our people here in America, Lori. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JFK, MLK, RFK.. As a nation, is there any greater treasures than these men that were violently taken away from us ? They were robbed of life and dreams and we have been robbed of all they could have accomplished.. Their notions of hard work, equality and compassion will always be ahead of the times.. I just don’t see the vision as a reality until such a time that greed is not a such a prevailing human trait..

    Liked by 1 person

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