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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,170

Journal Archives

On this day, they hit the beach...and took it.

With the arguable exception of the Mercury and Apollo astronauts getting strapped to the nosecones of questionable ballistic missiles to be shot off the skin of the planet, this day witnessed the greatest acts of pure courage the 20th century ever saw.

For Beau Biden, on his parting day.

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

-- Walt Whitman

...for Beau Biden on his parting day. He contributed a verse.

Question submitted by WilliamPitt

The text of this question will be publicly available after it has been reviewed and answered by a DU Administrator. Please be aware that sometimes messages are not answered immediately. Thank you for your patience. --The DU Administrators

Robert Kennedy died today.

I wrote this a bit more than a year ago.

The Lost, Lingering Legacy of Robert F. Kennedy

Forty-six years ago, on the fifth of June, 1968, the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy came to an abrupt and horrific end. Having just given his victory speech after winning the Democratic primary in California, Kennedy was struck by three bullets fired by a man named Sirhan Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel. He clung to life for a time at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, and died early the following morning.

History, as recorded, has a way of focusing on the primary colors of a particular individual's impact. The Robert Kennedy who is generally known is remembered to be the son of a rich industrialist, the right-hand man of Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Red-Scare witch hunts, one of the original architects of the Vietnam War debacle, the Attorney General, the Senator, and finally, the brother of an assassinated president. His own run for the presidency in 1968 lasted 82 days, and ended on a dirty kitchen floor in Los Angeles, with his life's blood pumping into the empty air along with the hopes and dreams and aspirations of millions.

But Robert Kennedy - son of the oligarchy, scion of a family of the ruling elite after his two older brothers were laid low by war and another assassin - was so much more than that. When President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in November of 1963, Robert Kennedy was destroyed. Annihilated. Ruined utterly. He disappeared within himself and his overwhelming sorrow for a time, emerging eventually to win a US Senate seat for New York in 1964...and that is when the new, true Bobby Kennedy emerged.

You see, Bobby Kennedy had been a child of exceeding privilege and astonishing power from the moment of his birth. At no point, from his birth until his dying breath, did he ever know want, or hunger, or discrimination. When his brother was murdered in Dallas, however, the comfortable world of Robert Kennedy exploded, and for a time he was lost...and then he found himself anew, reborn, and unleashed himself upon American politics as an avatar for the poor, the downtrodden, the sick, and the hopeless.

The all-encompassing agony of his brother's murder, the bottomless loss he felt in the aftermath, birthed him again into the real world, and he saw the pain endured by so many people, and shared it as if it was his own, and went to work to try and fix it immediately.

Robert Kennedy, in the mid-1960s, ventured where few American politicians dared to go. He went to rural Mississippi, and saw Black children living in squalor with distended bellies because they were starving to death, right here in America. He went to places like the Pine Ridge Reservation, where Native Americans lived with no jobs, no running water, no electricity, and no hope. He went to the urban core of American cities, where Black youth seethed at the utter disdain the so-called "American Dream" had for them, and reached out his hand, and swore he would make things better.

There are two stories about Robert Kennedy that stand out in my mind, one well-known and the other nearly unheard-of.

The first story, well-known: Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4th, 1968, just as Kennedy's campaign was getting underway. Kennedy was in Indianapolis, slated to give a speech to a large crowd of Black supporters. When he arrived, no one in the crowd had heard the grim news, and it fell to Kennedy to tell them.


Every major American city burned that night, as the rage in the aftermath of King's murder took hold...except Indianapolis.

The second story, far less known: Robert Kennedy had been an advocate for Native Americans since well before his time in the Senate, and had visited a number of reservations over the years. His work was so appreciated by Native Americans that the National Congress of Indians in 1963 adopted him into the tribes, and bestowed upon him the name "Brave Heart."

During his 1968 presidential campaign, he had only two days to spend in his swing through South Dakota, and over the bellowed protestations of campaign staffers concerned about votes, spent one of those two full days at the Pine Ridge Reservation. He spent the entire day in the company of Christopher Pretty Boy, a 9-year-old child whose parents had been killed in a car accident the week before. Kennedy sat with Christopher for hours, and when he went on a tour of the reservation, held Christopher's hand the entire time.

One year later, Robert F. Kennedy and Christopher Pretty Boy were dead.

The 1968 presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy centered on two distinct yet inseparable themes: The blood-soaked immorality of the Vietnam War, and the astonishing fact that the richest nation on Earth tolerated the enormous poverty and deprivations suffered by its poorest citizens while vomiting billions of dollars into the bucket of that war. He spent 82 days shouting these desperately uncomfortable truths from the rooftops, until he was laid low.

Forty-six years later, the legacy of his campaign, of his cause, has been all but forgotten. Today, our politicians again wage war for political and financial benefit, ignore the rampant poverty and suffering of the citizenry, and in fact work hammer and tong to devise bold new ways to rob from the poor to fatten the rich. It is all too easy to imagine the better world that may have come to pass had Kennedy not walked into that kitchen, but that, in the end, is fantasy. It happened, and we are here.

There was a time all those years ago when, for 82 days, we were given an opportunity to believe that we as a nation can be better than what we are. The legacy of Robert Kennedy is still there, lying fallow, waiting to be born anew.

The time is just right, and anything - everything - is possible.


"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God." -- Aeschylus, by way of Bobby, on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. died

The Westboro Baptist shit-souls claim they'll protest Beau Biden's funeral


"Hi, we're the Westboro Baptist Church!"

"Hi, we're the Secret Service!"


"Well, that settles that."

One can dream.

Here's the bare fact: *I* should have been banned well before NYC_Skip.

This is not meant as a call-out to the admins, or to anyone at all actually. I'm calling myself out, truth be told.

I posted a thread calling the president a POS used car salesman !!!here!!! because I lost my temper with the only insurance company the ACA allowed me to access in NH, and was stupid enough to take it out on my keyboard. I had my reasons, and it was because my wife with MS and my baby daughter were being put in peril by a gruesomely selfish and greedy insurance bureaucracy the ACA handed us to as our only choice in this state...but I'm not getting into it again, and if you want to, you'll be talking to yourself and not me.

The point: We've all said some rotten shit on this board over the years. Some of us (me!) have said shit that would hyperactivate a statue. It's amazing they still let me in the door...but they do, and that's my ultimate purpose with this post. Skip wasn't just a member here. He gave service to the organization as a Mod back in the Mod days on DU2. He was a hard-boiled contributor, and if his contributions made me want to beat him with a length of lead pipe - aaaaand they did on many times many occasions - well, that's the price of admission.

He fucked up big time, and no mistake. That was a shit stupid ugly thing to post. He got lost in the forest of the argument and ran smack into a tree...and I know I know I know he pissed off and offended a lot of people whose opinions I deeply respect...but if my opinion carries any degree of respect in this demented joint, here it is: Give the cat a break. I cannot honestly say I like him very much - we've had our share of round-and-rounds, and they have seldom been pleasant - and I don't at all respect everything he has to say by any means.

That goes for quite a lot of you assholes, as it turns out.

He has put in the work with this joint. Like it or lump it, he's part of the DNA.

He fucked up badly. Allow him a chance to apologize, and open the batwings for him again. I was given that chance once. So should he.

One man's opinion.

-- WilliamPitt
DU Member since May 21 2001

I didn't know this Group existed until about 90 seconds ago.

This is a completely useless fuzz-post.

But anyway, hi! It's a privilege to be here.

Go Bernie. Go go go.

The Loved and the Lost: A Note to the Biden Family

Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, then attorney general of Delaware, addresses the Democratic National
Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012. Biden, the eldest son of Vice President
Joseph R. Biden Jr., died of brain cancer, his father announced on Saturday, May 30, 2015.
(Photo: Todd Heisler / The New York Times)

The Loved and the Lost: A Note to the Biden Family
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Monday 01 June 2015

Like an old Irish blessing, the rain is falling softly upon the field that is my back yard. It is, along with the forest beyond, a verdant riot of green, so lush that it seems it would paint your hand if you brushed it. The flowers have come back, as have the birds, all blues and yellows and reds and song. The garden is bursting. After the grinding astonishment of white and cold that was winter, this detonation of life is like a long embrace from an old, dear friend.

As I write this, my daughter sleeps in her room. The soft susurration of the rain is God's own lullaby, and by God, it works. All of her tumbling two-year-old energy melts away like butter in a saucepan when that sound drifts through her springtime-open window, and she sleeps the sleep of the righteous. When I checked on her a bit ago, she was curled on her side, head on her pillow, her Pooh Bear clutched close in a deep embrace, with her ever-growing strawberry-blonde hair cascading across an untroubled brow.

To say that I love her is to say the rain outside is wet. That is simply too simple. I adore her in the Latin sense of the word, "adorare." I worship her. She is my lodestar, the axis of my universe. She is my heart. I am because she is. Before she was born, I was very quietly terrified of my impending fatherhood, terrified of the caliber of my unknown abilities as a father. After she arrived, I discovered to my delight that I was actually good at it, and she has become my best friend. When I walk through her playroom to my office, she asks, "Daddy work?" I reply, "Yes," she runs to join me yelling "Yay!" and climbs into my lap, and we write together while listening to "The Last Waltz," her current favorite.

She is my heart, my very heart, and if I lost her I would be obliterated utterly ... and so my mind and my soul are bent today toward the hearts of Vice President Joe Biden and his family. Mr. Biden is required now to bury a beloved son after already having buried his wife Neilia and his one-year-old daughter Naomi, who were killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer truck just before Christmas in 1972. No parent should have to bury a child. Mr. Biden has lost two - one who never had a chance to grow up, and another in the full flower of his life - along with his wife. It is like some nightmare koan: the mind reels, and stops, and all is only sorrow in aftermath.

It is an old story all too often repeated: the children of the powerful wind up being terrible people. Beau Biden, who succumbed to brain cancer on Saturday at age 46, was a notable and underscored exception to that rule. He served as state Attorney General of Delaware, served in the Delaware Army National Guard's Judge Advocate General Corps, and did a tour in Iraq. In 2008, he introduced his father to the convention in a speech that knocked paint off the walls. He was widely considered to be the front-runner in the Delaware governor's race in 2016 before that wretched disease laid him low. He fought the cancer for two years, and his father's family grave plot has become crowded once again.


In the end, and from one husband and father to another, the best I can do is share the words of another public servant named Abraham Lincoln: "I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming ... I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost."

Godspeed, sir. I am so very sorry.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31085-the-loved-and-the-lost-a-note-to-the-biden-family

A thought for Joe Biden

"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming...I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost."

-- Abraham Lincoln

The "Bernie Sanders Is A Racist" talking point is comically dumb

...and smacks of desperation. Example:


No need for a wall of words in response to this. One will suffice.

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