The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on June 6, 1998 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, June 6, 1998
Page 4
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A4 SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 1998 WASHINGTON THE SALINA JOURNAL RFK's Legacy Lives On On 30th anniversary of his death, Robert Kennedy's challenges remain alive By DAVID M. SHRIBMAN The Boston Globe W ASHINGTON — He was the president's brother. He was his campaign manager, his attorney general, his closest confidant in the signature confrontations of the day — with Nikita Khrushchev, who planted missiles on Cuban soil and fear in American hearts; and with Jim Crow, who held so much of America in his cruel grip. But now, 30 years after he was shot, Robert Francis Kennedy — linked with his brother in the White House years, linked with him in one of the tragic public deaths that helped define the Kennedy decade — finally is on his own in the pantheon of public memory. What is remarkable today is not that three decades have passed since Bobby Kennedy won the California primary and then vowed to fight on in Chicago, where the Democrats were planning their national convention. What is remarkable today is the durability of Bobby Kennedy. His older brother's world and worries are gone, Camelot in a time capsule. His own world and worries are right there, out the front window, and on the front pages of newspapers. John Kennedy's battles — in Vietnam, in Laos, in the Congo — are over. Bobby Kennedy's battles — in the cities, in the marketplace, in the moral heart of the nation — are still being fought. He was not a president, just a senator. He was not a party nominee, just a candidate. He was not a party elder, just an insurgent. And yet for all that, Bobby Kennedy remains a vivid figure, a giant of his generation, a symbol of his time. RFK is, moreover, one of only five men in'our history known by his initials; the others, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Lyndon Baines Johnson, were all presidents. Before the year is out, the Republican Congress almost certainly will vote to name the Justice Department building after Bobby Kennedy. The past and present Today, three decades after he lay mortally wounded in the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel amid the last truly riveting presidential nomination battle of the century, Bobby Kennedy seems a distinctive part of the contemporary American landscape while his brother, the first president born in this century, increasingly seems like a figure from the T JFK ASSASSINATION The Associated Press Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., his wife, Vicki (right), and his sister Eunice Shriver, place flowers at the gravesite of Robert F. Kennedy on Friday at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. historical past. Their deaths were only five years apart — indeed, this November marks the 35th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas — but the two events now seem separated by ages. John Kennedy died amid the certainties of the Cold War. Robert Kennedy died amid the uncertainties of America's role in the world. John Kennedy challenged Americans to bear all the burdens of leadership. Bobby Kennedy challenged the nature of that leadership. Bobby Kennedy's vision, his approach, his faith, his uncertainty — they are, every one of them, still here today. He didn't believe in the welfare system or the welfare culture. He was skeptical of big-government solutions. He trusted in the markets. "We have created a system of handouts, a second-rate set of social services which damages and demeans its recipients, and destroys any semblance of human dignity that they have managed to retain through their adversity," Bobby Kennedy said. "In the long run, welfare payments solve nothing, for the giver or the recipients; free Americans deserve the chance to be fully self-supporting." You can hear that kind of speech any time these days, in the House Republican Conference — or in the White House, where a Democrat has lived for six years. Often, in his last campaign, for the presidency in 1968, Bobby Kennedy would confront signs, hand-written, almost surely intended to be cutting and cruel. They said something like: "Bobby Ain't Jack." He wasn't trying to be. Five years ago, President Clinton wrote a short foreword to an evocative pictorial book on RFK's 1968 campaign. In it he said: "He fought to close the chasm between working-class whites and blacks while others sought political advantage in prying them apart. He was skeptical about bureaucracies and programs — as if either could solve our problems without private and individual efforts. He spoke plainly and passionately about hunger, about the unequal distribution of wealth and power in America, about ending apartheid in South Africa, and about the glories of citizens taking responsibility for their own actions and their own behavior." The landmarks of Bobby Kennedy's File photo Robert F. Kennedy, then a New York senator, is seen in this March 22,1967 photo. passage — his agony over the problems he found in Mississippi and Africa, his worries about the gap between rich and poor, his struggle with applying economic solutions to social problems — are part of the challenge, present even in this time of tranquillity and prosperity, to build a society that fosters both prosperity and justice, that is diverse but united. "There is discrimination in New York, apartheid in South Africa, and serfdom in the mountains of Peru," he said during a visit to South Africa. "People starve in the streets of India; intellectuals go to jail in Russia; thousands are slaughtered in Indonesia; wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. There are differing evils, but they are the common works of man." John Kennedy governed a nation that had come to enjoy life lived at an andante tempo, and was alternately inspired and chary of the faster pace he promised. Bobby Kennedy spoke to a nation that was marked with an agitato style, and was unsettled by war and insurrection. John Kennedy was classical, Bobby Kennedy was romantic. John Kennedy was consonant, Bobby Kennedy was dissonant. "It is not enough to allow dissent," the younger brother said. "We must demand it. For there is much to dissent from...." Bobby Kennedy was one of those who, as Keats wrote, "feel the giant agony of the world," one of the "slaves to poor humanity" who "labor for mortal good." ! The quotation was one of RFK's favorites, and he chose it for the opening of his chronicle of the 13 terrible days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. For all his imitators, and in Washing' ton they appear with more regularity than Elvis impersonators, John Kennedy would be incongruous in Washington today. His sense of style was rooted in the verities and customs of the years preceding World War II. He may have been the television president, but he was tied to the old-time bosses. He may have portrayed himself as a rebel, but he was bound by the old ways. Bobby knew no bounds Bobby Kennedy knew no such bounds. They were broken by his brother's assassination, and by the failure of the establishment to give way to change in the mid-1960s, and by the pain of his own loss, and by the anger of his countrymen, whether in the ghettos or in the draft boards or in hippie communes or the everyday lives of men and women who tried to keep their families together as their country flew apart. John Kennedy's causes are gone, and so, for the most part, are his men. Bobby Kennedy's causes live on, and so, to a remarkable degree, do the men who surrounded him. You can see them every day, on Capitol Hill, in law offices, in the ; capital's conversation. Today they have '. a special presence in Washington, and a special aura of moral power. ; v So, too, in a funny way, does Robert Kennedy. CT John Kennedy was known as "Jack," ^ but say the name today — make a casual*, reference to what "Jack" was thinking — and no one in the capital where he reigned for a thousand days will know . > •' for sure whom you are talking about. But-,, utter the two syllables of Robert Kennedy's nickname —just say the word- > "Bobby" in McCormick and Schmick's downtown power-lunch restaurant, or in the Speaker's Lobby of the House, or in the White House Mess — and everyone within earshot will know to whom you ' refer. ' ' Everyone will know you are talking " ( about Robert Francis Kennedy, senator '.' from New York, winner of the California' ' primary, possible nominee of the Democ> ratic Party, shot in the pantry of the Am- ,' bassador Hotel in Los Angeles, June 5, '"' 1968, and pronounced dead at 1:44 a.m., June 6,1968. He was 42 years old. Documents show Oswald's widow thought he was guilty Secret documents show she wouldn't buy into conspiracy theory By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Five years after John F. Kennedy's assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald's widow faced a district attorney's insistence that Oswald "might have been set up." But she clung to a belief that her husband was the president's killer and acted alone. Documents made public Friday show the intensity of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's pursuit of his conspiracy theory. He even told Marina Oswald Porter that when her husband, during 12 hours of questioning, consistently asserted his innocence, "he was telling the truth." But Porter wouldn't buy in to the conspiracy theory. Near the end of a long day of interrogation before the grand jury, she was asked point-blank, "Mari- TCONGRESS na, do you believe your husband killed the president?" "As much facts as I know, I do," the Russian-born woman said in broken English. Later, an unidentified member of the grand jury broke in to ask, "Do you think he was capable of planning, plotting this whole thing by himself?" "I think so," she replied. "I don't think he would be involved in any conspiracy with anybody, in my opinion." The secret grand jury records, made public Friday, offer little to support Garrison's belief that people in his own city were part of a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. The Garrison investigation, from 1967 through 1969, resulted in the indictment, 34-day trial and hasty acquittal of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw. Harry Connick, the current New Orleans district attorney, sought to keep the record of Garrison's proceedings secret, but a court .ruled that Connick had to Tiahrt opposes food stamp bill By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Rep. Todd Tiahrt was the only Kansan in the House to vote against a bill restoring food stamps to some legal immigrants and securing crop insurance for farmers. Tiahrt, a Republican, joined 47 other Republicans and two Democrats in opposing the legislation, which also boosts spending on agricultural research. The House passed it Thursday on a 364-50 vote. Tiahrt's spokesman, Dave Hanna, said Tiahrt voted no because the measure "rolled back welfare reform and placed a $1.9 billion unfunded mandate on the states." The legislation also would guarantee $470 million over five years to pay agents and companies to write crop insurance policies. In addition, the bill would spend an additional $600 million over five years for agricultural research — focused on high-priority areas such as biotechnology and food safety — and would increase spending on rural development programs by $100 million. The chief objection of conservative Republicans was returning food stamps to about 250,000 of the 935,000 legal immigrants who were removed from the rolls by the 1996 welfare overhaul. The Senate passed it in April. In our advertisement on June 4th, the Panasonic VCR #55308 (MFR. #PV8405S) is not a 4-head HI-FI VCR as mentioned. This item is simply a 4-head VCR. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers. surrender the records to the Assassination Records Review Board. Congress created the board after the Garrison investigation was portrayed by the Oliver Stone movie "JFK." The board's purpose is to amass all records concerning Kennedy's killing and subsequent investigations. Porter —• she remarried after Oswald was killed in the Dallas jail three days after the shooting of Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 — was one of 40 witnesses before the grand jury. Pursuing his own conspiracy theory, Garrison told Porter that no fingerprints had been found on Oswald's guns and that a nitrate test "exonerated" Oswald. And an assistant district attorney reminded her that friends of Oswald doubted he could kill the president. To which she replied: "They don't know much about Lee. He could have violent temper, he could be mean. He kept everything kind of secret." Goinv OutOf Business Sale Everything Must Go... 75*'ff storewide Open I , k Mon.-Fri. f l --= Noon-5 J,i$ij. : Sat EiPiO 10am-5pm The Koch's House (785) 825-2780 Broadway & Slate • Salina Available now! 1 998 SALI N E COUNTY PROPERTY VALUES $3.50 tax Included A guide to residential property values set by the Saline County appraiser's office Available at: The Salina Journal, 333 S. Fourth

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