50 Years Ago Today


Bobby Kennedy was assassinated fifty years ago today. Much more has been written about the death of his older brother John F. Kennedy. But the death of Bobby, our once-and-future president, had even more impact on my generation than JFK’s. Why?

We’d just come of age, and many of us would be voting for the first time (the voting age had been lowered at the start of the 60s). Bobby’s assassination, just two months after our other hero Martin Luther King’s, was the unthinkable second in a two-strike attack on everything we cared about. Bobby had greater strength of character than his brother, and like Martin was a champion of civil rights.

It was the most divisive era of the 2oth Century. We were culpable in that division, of course. But we were also dedicated to fixing it. And no one had seemed as capable of carrying our candle as Bobby. So we mourned. Hard. We wanted social justice, and we wanted it now!

Were we right about everything? Of course not. Youth are idealistic and tend to want to fix the government so it can fix everything—and everyone—else. As we aged, we learned that human culture is not as simple as we want it to be—because humans aren’t as simple as we want them to be. But we did get some things right.

The current generations (Millennials and Gen Z-ers) are coming into their own in the most divisive era of the 21st Century (so far). Yes, they’re culpable in that division, but they also want to fix it. They want social justice, and they want it now!

Are they right about everything? Of course not. But they care. Passionately. Perhaps the last generations, Boomers and Gen X-ers, can come alongside theirs, yes, even the conservatives among us (I’m a radical moderate myself), and re-light our candle from theirs.

Who, if anyone, will be the new Bobby? I don’t know, but let’s not wait for him or her. Let’s work together to make things better…


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to 50 Years Ago Today

  1. numrhood says:

    do you have posts for the year 93


  2. joyroses13 says:

    Very well said!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen, now is the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, what might have been! And how greatly his ideals are needed today. Thanks for the reminder, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. stolzyblog says:

    1968 was a wild, wild year. Recall it like yesterday. Hard to believe all that happened in one condensed period — especially when you add the arts and music into consideration. It’s difficult to get the sense whether youth are engaged or not or so so nowadays. All impressions drown out and become blurry on the web. Interestingly, silos like WP are among the places where some actual conversation happens still across generations.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. M.B. Henry says:

    Bravo. The things we can do if we work together…!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Roos Ruse says:

    Beautifully said again, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve never heard of a radical moderate before, but I think that may describe me, too. (I tend to take stands that make both sides mad at me. :/) Good article… Now I have the 60’s song, “Abrahan, Martin and John” going through my head…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. (Abraham) (as in “Lincoln.”)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mitch,
    Good article. That was a time for many Eye Openings. With what we have learned from those days was the beginning of “The Me Culture”. Feelings took presidents over Common Sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ann Coleman says:

    The older I get, the more I realize no one group holds the monopoly on truth. That’s why I agree that the only way to make things better is to work together…even with those we happen to think are kinda wrong about stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gritty Momma says:

    YES! Where do I sign? As a… whatever I am (Millennial? Gen Z? Never really felt welcome in any particular group, but, here we are…), this really speaks to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. numrhood says:

    paco stanley was assassinated on that day in 99, a year after the hartmans did.


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