52 Years Later, Robert Kennedy’s ‘Ripple of Hope’ Speech Still Resonates
As the outcry over the Trump Administration’s practice of detaining immigrant children separated from their families grows, RFK’s powerful words become even more relevant and necessary.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow broke into tears during Tuesday night’s broadcast of the popular evening cable news program, The Rachel Maddow Show. The emotional moment, unusual for the
usually-gregarious Maddow, came during the final moments of the broadcast when she
attempted to read the lede of this breaking AP story report (entitled, “At least 3 ‘tender age’ shelters set up for migrant children”). And for good reason. The sentiments were echoed by equally frustrated and disturbed media personalities across the country, including the panelists of the Bros4America podcast. The June 19th episode focused exclusively on the Department of Homeland Security and it’s participation in abusive and inhuman civil rights abuses against children at the U.S. border.
This is where we’re at.
Fitting then that June marks the 52nd anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s stirring ‘Ripple of Hope’ speech, in which he spoke of the ills of futility and challenged an entire generation to affect change in the face of insurmountable obstacles.
“Now, more than ever, what we need is that ripple of hope and belief in the promise of this great country that the late Bobby Kennedy spoke of 52-years-ago.
“Resistance fatigue,” as with any movement, is inevitable. In an exclusive interview with Bros4America earlier this month, Rep. Maxine Waters warned of this, urging young activists to surround themselves with highly motivated and energetic people. As the hot summer days begin in earnest and the 2018 mid-term elections loom as one of the most important elections of our lifetime, the
Trump Administration’s insidious agenda has reached a level of cruelty and inhumanity that come as a shock to even his sharpest critics.
The final five minutes of this week’s Bros4America podcast are dedicated to Thomas McAbee, who has sacrificed more for this country than most people know, and to anyone feeling frustrated and hopeless by this nightmare. You are the heart and soul of this fight.
Reports out of McAllen, Texas have begun to reveal the United States is participating in human rights abuses against children immigrating from foreign countries by separating them from their parents and detaining them in what can only be described as mini-internment camps. The photos are enough to make any activist feel burned out and hopeless.
Especially troubling is the apologist and complacent behavior of the conservative news media, which has been continuously taking ordinarily non-partisan issue like the humane treatment of children, and making it a partisan one. Not to mention the constant repetition of propaganda and lies. For instance, FOX News personality Laura Ingraham took to her soap box on Monday night to seriously opine with no irony that the detainment camps for these young children, look like a boarding school.
I wonder if Laura @IngrahamAngle, who is an American citizen but adopted two children from a foreign country, would feel alright with her kids being detained in one of these detention "boarding schools" on her next international trip. It's just like summer camp, right, Laura? pic.twitter.com/FqQtS9mPay
Contrast that with the following audio from one of the detention centers.
How you view the treatment of immigrants is a Rorschach test for humanity and decency.
— Bros4America (@Bros4America) June 19, 2018
The news media gives so much coverage to Trump and his gaffes and upsetting policies here at home, that I fear that human rights abuses globally go unchecked and unnoticed, like in the case of 25-year-old Ramin Hossein Panahi,
When news is dominated by Trump's stunts, human rights abuses around the world go unchecked and people like 25-yr-old #RaminHosseinPanahi, a Kurdish political prisoner in Iran facing execution w/o a fair trial or just cause, are rendered voiceless. #StopExecutionOfRamin @Amnesty pic.twitter.com/BSgy6LDOI7
— Alex Mohajer (@AlexMohajer) June 17, 2018
In dark times like this, it’s important to remember the great words of Bobby Kennedy. This speech, one of the most famous speeches in history, was given approximately 52 years ago this month at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. We hope that they will provide you with some solace, some comfort, and some inspiration.
Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant Reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32 year old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. “Give me a place to stand,” said Archimedes, “and I will move the world.” These men moved the world, and so can we all.
It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice. He sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest wall of oppression and resistance.
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The Bros4America Podcast is executive produced by Alex Mohajer and features hosts Thomas McAbee, Rance Collins, Alex Mohajer, and Daniel Fusselman. It is produced using Audacity and hosted by Bluberry/Powerpress. Professional statistics services also by Blubrry. Theme music is Chris Zabriskie, “It’s Always Too Late To Start.” Special thanks to Matt Garrett and Nelson Melegrito, and to Hillary Clinton, to which this podcast is dedicated.
Also published on Medium.