Sirhan Sirhan

47 Years Since The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy: The Might Have Beens!

Today, June 5, in the year 1968, 47 years ago, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, an active seeker of the Democratic Presidential nomination, had just won the California Primary over Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota.

It seemed as if RFK was on the way to the Democratic nomination, although Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had not entered the primaries, had a strong backing from party bosses, labor unions, and city mayors and many Senators and Governors, so there was great uncertainty as to what might happen at the Chicago Convention at the end of August.

Tragically, however, history was transformed, as RFK was assassinated by a Palestinian Christian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, who was angered at RFK’s backing of Israel in the year earlier Six Day War, in which Israel won territory from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, with the war beginning precisely on that date in 1967!

There is still debate and speculation on the RFK murder, with some believing it was a conspiracy with more than one gunman involved.

In any case, RFK comes closest to any non Presidential nominee to be considered a likely winner of the Presidency, had he not been killed, so therefore the “Might Have Been” issue arises.

My forthcoming book on August 15, available with a 30 percent discount from Rowman Littlefield, with the indicated four digit code, devotes Chapter 10 to the Robert F. Kennedy assassination!

The Legacy Of Robert F. Kennedy Being Fulfilled By Barack Obama

June 6 is not only the anniversary of D Day in 1944.

It is also, sadly, the 46th anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy, the former Attorney General under his brother, John F. Kennedy, and Senator from New York, who was seeking the Presidency in 1968, when he was assassinated by a Palestinian Christian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, shortly after winning the California primary, part of the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

While there was no certainty that RFK would have been the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1968, beating out the eventual nominee, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, it is felt by many historians and scholars that RFK would have been the nominee, and likely, would have defeated Richard Nixon and George Wallace, the two opponents of Humphrey in 1968, and become our 37th President of the United States!

The thought is that RFK would have promoted the cause of civil rights, concern about the poor, be an advocate of the environment, expanded Medicare to more than the elderly, had the backing of labor, and overall, extended the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, much like Humphrey believed. RFK also wanted to end the war in Vietnam, and keep America out of foreign wars unless it affected the national interest in such a manner that we could not avoid engaging in war!

So, in many ways, he would have advocated in his time for what Barack Obama has stood for and advocated as President of the United States four decades later!

So we can say that Barack Obama is fulfilling the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy in a masterful and dignified manner!

Should John Hinckley Be Rewarded With More Freedom And Eventual Parole? NO! Should Sirhan Sirhan Be Allowed Parole? NO!

Two infamous assassination efforts against a President and a Presidential candidate, with one person being in a mental hospital and the other in a prison for a long time, has led to these individuals applying for more freedom and less control, and for parole, respectively. Neither should be allowed to win his case!

John Hinckley, who shot President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, has already been allowed the right to visit his family and stay away from the mental hospital under family supervision for periods of time, but now wants no supervision and less monitoring, and as much as 24 days away from the hospital at a time. This should NOT be allowed in any form! Nancy Reagan opposed the amount of freedom he has already been granted, and she is absolutely correct in her feelings!

Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was considered a likely winner of the Democratic nomination for President in 1968 had he lived, and thought to have been likely to have defeated Richard Nixon for the Presidency, has applied for parole. But the heinous act that he engaged in on June 5. 1968, should NOT be excused to allow him freedom at any time!

When an assassin tries to kill, or succeeds in murdering a President, or a Presidential candidate, he or she should lose his or her right to freedom at any point, because this is not just a murder, but affects the history of the country! One does the crime, one pays the time in loss of freedom forever!

The Dangers Of Political Extremism: Assassination Of Political Leaders

Today is a day to dwell on the dangers of political extremism, the kind of rhetoric that we have been witnessing more than ever since the Great Recession occurred in 2008 and after. The election of the first African American President in 2008 has added to the cauldron.

The chasm between the political parties is wider than ever, and the hot rhetoric displayed on much of talk radio and Fox News Channel is more intense than ever, and will, unfortunately, get worse as the heat of the Presidential campaign intensifies.

Political extremism of the past led to political assassination in American history, as witness:

Abraham Lincoln, murdered at the end of the Civil War, April 14, 1865, by a Confederate sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth.

William McKinley, murdered by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, on September 14, 1901.

John F. Kennedy, murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald, a supporter of Fidel Castro and Cuba, 48 years ago on this date, and being commemorated today.

Martin Luther King, Jr,, murdered by a racist, James Earl Ray, on April 4, 1968.

Robert Kennedy, murdered by an Arab sympathizer, Sirhan Sirhan, on June 5, 1968.

These five assassinations, along with the assassination by mentally ill people of James Garfield and Huey Long; and the attempted assassinations of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan are constant warnings of the dangers of violence once passions are aroused to a dangerous level.

When one considers that an individual was recently arrested for having shot at the White House, and perceived as a danger to President Barack Obama, it makes one feel a chill go through his spine, this on top of a similar incident under Bill Clinton.

Our nation’s leaders are under constant threat, and we need to tone down our rhetoric in memory of the death of John F. Kennedy nearly a half century ago, as we do not want to go through the horror and pain of such an event ever again!

Three Key Events Of June 5 And 6, Which Transformed America , Commemorated

While the author was away for a week’s vacation in Montreal and Quebec City, three key events, which transformed America, were commemorated.

Historically, the first event was D Day, the invasion of Normandy, France by the United States, Great Britain and the Free French, on June 6, 1944. This was the beginning of the final push against Nazi Germany, opening up a second front in the war against Adolf Hitler. Thouands of Americans and other allied troops died on that day and in the days that followed on a great mission, and this is what makes the World War II generation called by many the “greatest generation”!

So on the 67th anniversary of that pathbreaking event, one needed to stop and think how rapidly we are losing that generation, with the minimum age of those engaged in that great battle now being 85! We can never do enough to salute the bravery and courage of those who perished, as well as those who survived that crucial moment in World War II, allowing us to be the society we are today!

Secondly, on June 5, 1967, 44 years ago, the Six Day War of Israel versus Egypt, Jordan and Syria, began after information came to the Israelis of an imminent attack, and their decision to commence a war of pre-emption. The war lasted just six days, and led to Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the Sinai Desert, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.

Out of this war came the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the rise of Yasser Arafat, and two generations of terrorism, which have affected the security and safety of Israel, the United States, and all western nations. And attempts to negotiate peace on the occupied territories has led to return of some land to Egypt and the Palestinians, recognition by Egypt and Jordan, but failure to recognize Israel by other Arab nations, and attempts by the US to promote a comprehensive peace, meeting with utter failure and constant tensions in the area.

But to expect Israel to return more territory without guarantees of security, safety, and recognition of their right to exist, is to dream the impossible.

Finally, exactly a year after the beginning of the war in the Middle East, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, brother of the slain President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles immediately after winning the California Presidential primary. Considered the front runner for the Democratic nomination for President, RFK was murdered by a Palestinian Arab named Sirhan Sirhan, who worked in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, and was angry over RFK’s open support of the Israelis in the Six Day War a year earlier.

So RFK became the first victim of Palestinian terrorism, something not recognized for a long time. And America lost its possible future President, and one has to wonder how he would have performed as President of the United States.

Many have seen RFK as a transformative figure, who would have changed the course of American history in a major way. We will never know how his impact would have affected us, but we are well aware that we had an opportunity for a major change to the left, and instead descended into Republican conservatism which has put America in a precarious state in the past 40 years, and has caused the Great Recession that we are still reeling from in 2011!