As one reviews the history of American presidents over the past fifty years it is apparent that not a single one was able to create a sense of leadership that encompassed those of differing views and beliefs. The polarization of Americans into separate groups, each committed to firm beliefs has grown and grown. Our society lacks the sense that only a leader could convey that those who seek a different America also have a place within America. The last American leader who offered that sense of a society bound together seeking a new America was Robert Kennedy. He died on the road to becoming president because another of those fun nuts was angry and decided to end a life. After all, as the National Rifle Association argues, one has the Constitutional right to kill, if one believes his rights are threatened.
On the night when Martin Luther King was murdered, Robert Kennedy was in Indianapolis. He spoke calm words to those who were Negroes, he spoke of the pain that he, as a white man had suffered, when a white man murdered his brother. He then walked the streets of Indianapolis offering words of calm to angry Negroes. Robert Kennedy was just as comfortable in a group of white conservative workers as he was with liberals. His words were always about the importance of recognizing that to be an American was to be concerned about ALL Americans. Neither Bush nor Obama has ever been able to convey that feeling. For Robert Kennedy, the plight of those who were poor or disadvantaged was primary to the American dream. He often took the side that was being oppressed, regardless of political consequences. And, thus he died with his dream of a united caring America.
I was struck at lack of presence of President Obama at the border to hug and welcome children seeking refuge. Yes, such a sight would be terrible politics, but such a sight would be what a leader of
America must convey.