RFK Sworn In by Andrew Beane
says: what if Robert Kennedy walked out of the Ambassador Hotel
unharmed? muses Andrew Beane. Please note that the opinions expressed in
this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
January 20th 1969: Robert F.
Kennedy was sworn in as the thirty-seventh President of the United States
today, bringing a final end to a tumultuous campaign season that threatened
to split the Democratic Party.
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be
demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will
be asked" - Luke 12:48
Kennedy took the oath of office with his wife Ethel
Kennedy holding his family Bible to a verse that his brother John quoted as
thirty-fifth President: Luke 12:48, "From everyone who has been given much,
much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much,
much more will be asked".
Though reluctant to run for the Presidency, Robert Kennedy was convinced to
run by friends and family, and by the disastrous campaign in Vietnam, which
culminated in the February Tet Offensive. Though criticized by some in the
Democratic Party as an opportunist who was exploiting President Johnson's
failures in the war against the communists in South Vietnam, Kennedy
contended that Johnson had not only failed the soldiers serving in Vietnam,
but American society here at home as well. "If we believe that we, as
Americans, are bound together by a common concern for each other, then an
urgent national priority is upon us. We must begin to end the disgrace of
this other America. And this is one of the great tasks of leadership for us,
as individuals and citizens this year".
"[Vietnam War] a disastrous failure, started with
eyebrow-raising zeal and ill-conceived planning"As Kennedy sought to
defeat the favored Vice President Hubert Humphrey in the state primaries,
his campaign almost came to a halt on June 6th of last year. Kennedy
narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by Sirhan Sirhan, a
Palestinian-American who felt betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel
during the 1967 Six Day War. A bullet grazed the right arm of the
presidential hopeful, who otherwise remained unharmed.
During his inaugural speech, Kennedy vowed to seek a swift and responsible
end to the Vietnam War, promising that American combat forces will leave
Indochina within eighteen months of his taking office. He called the war "a
disastrous failure, started with eyebrow-raising zeal and ill-conceived
planning", and called it a crime that "so many of our young men were fed
into the fire because of decisions based on questionable origins". Kennedy
was referring to the disputed Gulf of Tonkin incident, which he promised to
investigate. He also promised to return the military's focus on the Soviet
threat in Europe, and accelerate desegregation and social justice "So that
every man, woman and child in these beautiful United States may live the
life that my dear brother John, my friend Martin Luther King Jr, and our
Lord Jesus Christ all died to secure".
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
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