Joe Kennedy III calls Washington Post column invoking RFK ‘grotesque’

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Joe Kennedy III calls Washington Post column invoking RFK ‘grotesque’

Rep. Joe Kennedy III says {that a} Washington Post columnist’s current try to make use of his grandfather as a cudgel in opposition to the present Democratic Party was “grotesque.”

In his personal op-ed Wednesday night, the Massachusetts congressman responded to conservative columnist and radio host Hugh Hewitt’s opinion piece Saturday within the Post headlined “The party of Robert F. Kennedy is gone.”

Hewitt pointed to the previous legal professional basic and New York senator’s famously transferring speech in 1968, through which the then-presidential candidate introduced the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to a largely African-American crowd in Indianapolis and referred to as for “love and wisdom and compassion toward one another.”

Kennedy himself was assassinated two months after the speech.

In his article, Hewitt prompt that, within the wake of the current mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, right now’s Democratic Party sought to “score points,” reasonably than urge peace and therapeutic.

“Every single Democrat missed his or her opportunity to step up, as RFK did, and instead stepped in it,” he wrote, noting that at least 5 of the Democratic presidential candidates have since referred to as President Donald Trump a white supremacist — a time period and accusation that has confirmed to be difficult.

“I think the rhetoric of the Democratic candidates is incendiary and dangerous, and also politically self-destructive. It is so absurd as to be laughable but for its repetition,” Hewitt continued. “But they do not wish to argue, debate and persuade. They wish to smear and exclude, and they have exploited this week’s shock and fear to do so.”

Four days later, Kennedy took to the Post opinion pages himself, arguing that Hewitt’s try to “manipulate” his grandfather’s speech in Indianapolis “to take a political shot against the Democratic Party is grotesque.”

The Newton Democrat additionally defended his colleagues for calling out Trump, whose rhetoric, significantly with respect to immigration, has been echoed by avowed white supremacists, together with the El Paso shooter. And whereas he has beforehand accused Trump of “racist” acts and “giving cover” to white supremacists, Kennedy went up to now Wednesday to reject the concept that the president may very well be referred to as “anything other than racist.”

From his op-ed:

… earlier than we get again to my grandfather, there are just a few different issues Hewitt received improper. First, {that a} president who retains black and brown kids in cages, terrorizes black and brown households with military-style raids and tries to dam black and brown voices from voting might be referred to as something apart from racist.

Second, that the harm we should always lament comes from being referred to as a racist, reasonably than being the topic of racism itself. Hewitt’s drawback is these of us talking out in opposition to President Trump’s assault on America’s character (language allegedly “intended to marginalize and exile”), reasonably than a president who’s actively marginalizing and actually exiling those that don’t look or dwell or love or pray like him.

Third, that racism manifests solely in its worst offenders. This is essentially the most pernicious assumption of white America, a well-known show of our cussed privilege. That regardless of how deeply we profit from a system designed to benefit white over black, we will in some way wash our palms of the struggling that system inflicts.

Kennedy wrote that reckoning with systemic racism is “hard and messy work” and argued that his grandfather “didn’t shy away from deep wounds,” citing examples through which RFK personally visited sharecroppers, labor activists, poverty-stricken Native American communities, and that upset crowd in Indianapolis.

“But justice isn’t about what’s comfortable,” he wrote. “If one person knew that, it was Bobby Kennedy.”

Kennedy mentioned that Hewitt was appropriate in a single respect: “It was a good speech that night.” However, the congressman wrote that Hewitt “fundamentally misunderstands why.”

“My grandfather’s words landed not because he was trying to speak for all Americans but because he was fighting for a nation where silenced Americans could speak for themselves,” he wrote.

Not in contrast to many Democrats right now, Kennedy mentioned that RFK’s “moral clarity” got here from “anger” over “blatant racism” and the persistent inequities stemming from slavery, Jim Crow legal guidelines, and segregationists in his personal get together.

Rather than his grandfather’s legacy, Kennedy mentioned what’s at stake right now is how the present technology shall be remembered when confronted with injustice.

“A politician’s speech will not save us,” he wrote.

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