In The Absence of Heroes in America Now

He was a child of enormous privilege, the son of a filthy-rich war-profiteer industrialist. During the early part of his career, he helped ruin innocent people while seated at the right hand of Joe McCarthy and played the game of thrones next to his brother in the Oval Office with millions of people’s lives.

And then he suffered a great loss, and became a different man, a better man, and wrapped his new perspective around his enormous power and influence. He stared true poverty in the face, realized how evil the war he helped to start was, and set out to make change with the same hard-nosed zeal for which he had become famous.

And then someone shot him dead in a kitchen.

You can lay a finger on dozens of moments in this country’s history when fate turned on its axis in a way that changed everything… and tall in the running for Most important, to me, is the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. He was one of them, then born again as one of us. His murder is a moment we are still recovering from as a nation, and we will still be short of that recovery for a long, long time.

Where Robert Kennedy was inspired by Martin Luther King’s opposition to the Vietnam War to take the same stance, today our leaders pay homage to Dr. King while planning air strikes against Syria. We need heroes today more than ever, but in the absence of Bobby and MLK, we must find those heroes within ourselves. You and I, all of us, are the ones we have been waiting for, and we have been here all along.

– William Rivers Pitt, columnist and editor of


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