Sr And Jr

Sr. and Jr. The distinction between them can be as vast as the universe. That’s not a bad thing, just a real thing. I thought I’d share a short but true story with you about the gap.

To start, full disclosure: I’m not a Kennedy guy. Still, I can appreciate without being a supporter. Moreover, I know something about speeches, leadership, communication, crisis, and the millions of stories on American River. I also know something about choices and decisions and the moments long remembered.

In April 1968 Robert Kennedy Sr came to Indianapolis, Indiana. In the midst of a night of fury around the nation, with fires and explosions ignited at the news of Martin Luther King Jr’s murder, Kennedy Sr gave a six-minute speech that soothed a crowd of 1000 people and helped make them, essentially, into temporary, volunteer ambassadors of peace and nonviolence that night. In part through this effect of Kennedy’s speech, the city didn’t erupt.

In January 2022 Robert Kennedy Jr came to Washington DC. As a pandemic reaches its latter stages while the embitteredness between pro- and anti-vaccination groups rises to startling heights, Kennedy Jr gave a several-minute speech that sought to whip up hostility toward those who disagreed with the views of he and perhaps 10,000 in attendance. Despite Kennedy’s speech, the city didn’t erupt.

Sr. quoted Aeschylus and recalled the ancient Greeks in his attempt to calm emotions and remind listeners of a higher purpose and better days ahead.

Jr. chose not to quote but rather invoked Jewish Anne Frank hiding in an attic during World War II as being in a better position than Americans today, while he described tens of thousands of Big Brother satellites soon circling the globe and crypto-currency that will enable corporate control of people from afar.

Which brings an old saying to my mind.

“The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Well, I suppose it depends. It makes a helluva difference if, instead of the wind blowing it from the branch, the acorn falls from a defecating cow that had eaten some grass and taken in the item by mistake and had felt something wasn’t quite right somewhere in its four stomachs…until now.

Both are in the shadow. Both can produce the next sprout of the next sapling of the next tree. And yes, both might be spied upon by Bill Gates and his space flotilla of Sky Eyes paid for by crazy money and beaming data back to the Wizard behind the curtain and the Klingons threatening the Enterprise. Sure, both

For Sr’s speech–

For Jr’s speech–

But I’ll always insist there is a difference.

Thanks for reading


For my book on the night of Kennedy Sr’s speech in 1968, see