Monday May 15, 2006, continuing
(8:10 pm) Mr. Kennedy can you tell me who killed John F. Kennedy and why and how?
You aren’t going to win any friends by putting this on the internet.
I don’t care. I feel like they ruined the lives of millions of people and I would love to be able to say so.
You just are not even remotely aware what you would be doing. You still assume that there is an abstract justice and far play that would protect you, and there isn’t. If Bobby couldn’t tell people the truth with the protection his circumstances gave him at the time why do you think you could get protection just because you are unknown and helpless? It’s a beautiful catch-22, you see. If you know and remain unknown, you are no threat. If you know and you are known you can be discredited. There isn’t a need to murder everybody who knows, and in any case there are different ways to murder people. Ask Clinton about assassination by reputation.
I see the point. So what are we to do?
Do? Live your lives with your eyes open. Naming names can’t bring back Jack, and it can’t bring you back to 1963, either. Your life is lived as it is, not as it might theoretically have been.
So forget it?
No! Not at all. But you know the saying “revenge is a dish best served cold”? Wait. They always go too far, just as you say.
They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves.
Sure. And they’re going to wind up like flies on a carcass. They think their best bet is to keep people numbed and sedated with bread and circuses. How well did that work out for the Romans?
I don’t think of myself as particularly blood-thirsty but I’d like to see the bastards suffer.
Dig two graves.
[An old saying says, when you go to seek revenge, dig two graves.]
I know the saying. And I agree with it. But –
Nobody gets away with anything. It isn’t up to you to control the world any more than it is to them, though they think so. Nobody can control it, it’s too big – you know all this.
It seems sort of shameful to sit doing nothing even if it isn’t my family or my fight. It was my life, though.
What’s the point of getting into a fight you have to lose? You’d help nobody and you’d either have no effect at all or you’d get squashed like a bug. What’s your percentage?
If you had been well and vigorous, would you have taken it sitting down?
Bobby was the toughest guy I ever met, including me, and he had to take it.
It’s funny, this isn’t what I ever would have imagined your reaction to be.
Then, maybe you aren’t making it up. My reaction is just realism. It’s the difference between being a combat veteran and being somebody who has seen a lot of war movies. There isn’t any comparison. It’s real life versus make-believe. It’s the way things are versus the way things ought to be. I can hate, but what good does it do to turn hatred into self-destruction?
Even after they’ve systematically whittled down your family like Nero and Germanicus?
People get killed in war; they get killed by tyrants. There’s a difference between recognizing what is and agreeing with it or approving of it. If somebody stole a million dollars from me and did it legally and I couldn’t get it back, what was I supposed to do? What is there to do but remember and wait for an opportunity? But maybe the opportunity never comes – should I throw my life away brooding over the million bucks or should I just go on?
I understand. It does make sense.
The truth about it has been told long ago, and eventually it will be sorted out from all the lies that were planted around it. But you know what, it still won’t bring Jack back, it won’t bring 1963 back, and it won’t bring back what they broke, right out in public, though it took a while longer for people to realize it had been broken.
People withdrew their support of the government
People’s blindness! There’s nothing going on now that hasn’t always gone on, except that the illusion is gone, and so people are sitting it out, and that changes the game. When these people come looking for citizens to ride to their rescue against the invading huns, who’s going to be stupid enough to saddle up? Some will. Some will do it to try to protect their families or even their idea of what America was supposed to become. But mainly people are going to say one thing: “You own it, you protect it.” That’s when you’ll get your revenge, but it may not taste very sweet.
Surely you wouldn’t advocate our defending these bums?
You see? In your reaction you show the effect it had. In 1962 you would have said “defend ourselves.” Now you say it would be defending “them” because you know it isn’t your country in any meaningful sense, no matter how you loved it. When the majority comes to feel that way, there’s the end waiting to happen. That doesn’t mean you will necessarily like the following act, though.
Here is my scenario – critique it? Then nobody can say I said you said it. It seems to me the Mafia or part of it had to be involved, and the Secret Service or part of it, and probably the FBI and intelligence agencies – one of them – part of them in both cases, as few as possible. I’ve never seen Johnson as a prime mover even though he was a prime beneficiary. But Nixon was in Dallas the day before, and I’ve always wondered why. HL Hunt was in Texas, and the Bush family. It seems clear that Nixon was never high enough to be the prime mover. The Hunts and Bushes and I don’t run in the same social circles so I don’t know their place in it if any. Beyond that I can’t go.
That isn’t bad. What else do you need? The underworld, the Secret Service, at least part of one intelligence agency, and an unknown prime mover – who by the way probably did not decide to do this on a whim or without consultation. So what would be the use in going farther?
Well, I’ll name one for sure: J. Edgar Hoover.
Oh he was aware, but only in a deniable way. You can bet on it that Edgar wasn’t going to put his head into a noose if things went wrong. But he could outlast Bobby for another five years or until he died if need be. Edgar would be silently cheering them on, but only from way out in the sidelines.
Hence some of Bobby’s guilt? That between Hoffa and Hoover he’d given two powerful figures reason to kill his brother.
Bobby knew better. He knew it wasn’t Johnson either. Bobby could hate, but he could hate and think. He didn’t have to chose one or the other.
Didn’t Bobby see it coming if he ran for president in 1968?
Of course he did. He saw it as a threat but he figured he’d be safe until November anyway. They outthought him on that one.
He was being reckless?
He was taking a chance because he really believed he could help the country change, and he believed only he could do it because people would trust him, as Jack’s friend and heir. He couldn’t accept that there wasn’t anything he could do. His whole life told him different.
Well, I don’t know if I could talk to him. You know what I feel, just please pass the message on. By the way, do you communicate? Does a family act as a family over there? When you’ve formed such strong bonds here, do they continue to affect you there?
[Different “feel” enters here.]
[RFK:] The thing you’re feeling about contacting me should make you see what it was for Jack and me – for all of us – growing up with dad.
The wariness, you mean?
Yes. You love me or your image of me and at the same time you remember my reputation and you wonder if I’m going to swat you. That was life with dad!
Well, I did love you, it’s true, and I did feel that hesitation. The middle class gets pretty thoroughly versed in being snubbed by those who have more money or position of whatever. But God bless you for really caring about the poor.
Except for my family, that was the most warm satisfying part of my life. That all these strangers who had nothing next to what I’d always taken for granted as my right should love me – at first I said it was for Jack, because the idea overwhelmed me that it could be for me. When I finally got to believe it, it was a new day for me, a second life. I know you will believe that, but I’ll bet not many of the people you show it to will.
You underestimate your own impact, I think. We loved you because you loved your brother as we did, but we came to love you even more when you came out of that enforcer shell and showed us that you really could see – like the time you went to Mississippi. You broke fully as many hearts as your brother did and for the same reason. Not only the cutting short of so much promise, but there was a sense there, that grew with time, that you got killed just because you were trying to turn America from violence and hatred to what we were supposed to have been, and maybe still could become. So – thank you. Tell me, is it a burden – and if so, how does it manifest? – to have people love you after you’re dead?
It’s a matter of definition, really. If we stay with the soul we are impacted, if we move on, we aren’t. I’m not the person to ask about all this.
All right. Do you entirely agree with your father’s views on what’s going to happen or do you think it could be turned around?
I believe in miracles, but I believe miracles happen because people work for them. I think it would be a shame if people gave up on America just because two more people got killed for trying to do what they thought was right.
Okay, but things look pretty bleak from here. They seem to have everything all sewed up.
That’s an illusion. That’s what the East Germans thought too, but once the threat of Soviet intervention was gone it took what, three, four, five candlelit marches a month apart and the government collapsed. When they lose the ability to run things by money, there will be an opportunity. I hope it won’t be wasted in guns and rioting. What you’re doing could be an immense help, so don’t quit.
No, I’m actually starting to take it for granted, between times when I startle myself by saying – I could talk to him! In any case I can’t think what else to do.
The effective technique will involve imagination and the creation of forms.