“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
50 years ago today, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. He was a Senator and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U. S. Presidency. The 1960s, and especially 1968, were a time of great turmoil in our country and the world. Robert Kennedy was a man who had grown into a compassionate and powerful liberal figure, one who offered hope to a divided country in despair.
RFK had won the primary in California and seemed poised to win the nomination, which would have made him a powerful candidate to become President. Then his life was brutally ended, and the country lost possibilities.
Like his brother, President John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he would be killed, and America would lose great potential for change and decency. I was a young teenager when this happened, and I remember feeling a terrible sense of loss and grief. As I grew older, I would realize just what the country lost.
I end with a quotation from his campaign, which was based on the earlier quotation from George Bernard Shaw. In his speech at the University of Kansas
March 18, 1968 RFK said:
Senator Ted Kennedy spoke of his brother at his funeral and said,
I hope we, as a nation, can remember Robert F. Kennedy’s sense of optimism and justice and that we move towards a just and inclusive society. We must think of what might be.
“Edward M. Kennedy Address at the Public Memorial Service for Robert F. Kennedy.”
American Rhetoric Top 100 Speeches. Online. http://www.americanrhetoric.com
“Robert F. Kennedy Speeches Remarks at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968.” John
F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Online. https://www.jfklibrary.org
photograph by Carl Van Vechten
I am continuing the series I began about what I consider to be the best TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s and representative example episodes of those shows. For this post, I am going to talk about Star Trek, the original version, which ran from 1966-1969. I will be dating myself, but this show ran when I had just become a young teenager, and it had huge influence on me.
I remember looking forward all week to the next episode and wondering what that week’s episode would be about. Star Trek was filled with what were, at the time, wonderful special effects, but much more than that, great stories and deeply developed characters.
I have many episodes that I think were very good, but one, in particular, stands out as excellent: “City On The Edge Of Forever.” It was written by the noted science-fiction author Harlan Ellison and ran towards the end of the first season. It dealt with time travel and insanity, which were always good themes for science-fiction, but it also dealt with an issue that continues to confront our society: what does someone do when seeing the existence of evil? Do they act at the risk of enormous sacrifice, or ignore it? Other questions also emerge from the show: what matters more—the fate of an individual or of society? How do we judge what is necessary to do in a difficult ethical situation? And where is the place of love in our world? These are very heady issues for a young teenager to struggle with; in fact, they continue to influence my thinking and my writing. It was also a series that infused hope, optimism, and humanism in its message, the idea that humanity can improve itself but always with struggle.
I am wondering: did you like the original Star Trek series, and if so, what episode was your favorite?
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