34,422. The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use – of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public. (Kennedy & Power) Robert Kennedy, The Pursuit of Justice 1964
34,423. About one-fifth of the people are against everything all the time. (Kennedy & Dissent) Robert Kennedy, May 1964
53,506. Thank you very much. I want to express my gratitude to my dog Freckles who has been maligned. As Franklin Roosevelt said, I don’t care what they say about me, but when start attack my dog ... I’m not doing this with an order of importance but I also want to thank my wife Ethel. (Dog & Kennedy) Robert Kennedy
34,425. Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited. (Kennedy & Dictatorship) Robert Kennedy, March 1968
34,426. I think back to what Camus wrote about the fact that perhaps this world is a world in which children suffer, but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this? I’d like to feel that I’d done something to lessen that suffering. (Kennedy & Children & Suffering) Robert Kennedy
34,427. The enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society. (Kennedy & Liberty) Robert Kennedy, June 1966 South Africa
34,428. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black – considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible – you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization – black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love. (Kennedy & Martin Luther King) Robert Kennedy, April 1968
34,464. What I think is quite clear is that we can work together in the last analysis, and that what has been going on in the United States over the period of the last three years, the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment with our society, the divisions whether it’s between blacks and whites, between the poor and the more affluent. Or between age groups or the war in Vietnam. That we can start to work together. We are a great country and a selfish country and a compassionate country, and I intend to make that my basis for running. Robert Kennedy, Los Angeles
34,429. What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason. Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded. (Kennedy & Violence) Robert Kennedy, April 1968
34,430. For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colours. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter. This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all. (Kennedy & Violence) ibid.
34,431. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his colour or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered. We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. (Kennedy & Racism & Discrimination) ibid.
49,579. A revolution is coming – a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough – but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability. (Revolution & South America & Kennedy) Robert Kennedy, report to Senate of trip to South America 1966
19,084. Some day I’m gonna get rid of that guy. (Gangstas: New Orleans & New Orleans & Mafia & Kennedy) Robert Kennedy, of Carlos Marcello, to associates on investigatory committee
4,924. For those who have made our own lives possible, those who have given us our traditions, they didn’t look back to find out what our colour was or what our religion was or what our race was, they didn’t look that way to us. (Rights & Race & Kennedy) Robert Kennedy, June 1966 South Africa
39,140. When I look out upon this audience I see both black and white faces. The basic question of whether we as black and white citizens in the United States are going to be able to live together, or whether we are going to divide ourselves into two armed camps. (Racism & Kennedy) Robert Kennedy
39,141. How can we say to a Negro in Jackson when war comes you will be an American citizen but in the meantime you’re a citizen of Mississippi, and we cannot help you? How by any moral standards can we tell our Negro citizens our forefathers brought your forefathers over here against their will and we are going to make you pay for it? Yet isn’t that what this argument boils down to? The United States is dominated by white people politically and economically. The question is whether we in this position of dominance are going to have not the charity but the wisdom to stop penalising our fellow citizens whose only former sin is that they were born. (Racism & Black Culture & Discrimination & Kennedy) Robert Kennedy