With the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, the memories of “Camelot” are surfacing anew as the nation says goodbye to an era with the passing of the last of the Kennedy brothers. Today on CNN.Com there is a poll asking who the most influential Kennedy was. President John Kennedy scores 66%, Senator Ted Kennedy scores 27%, and Senator Robert Kennedy scores 8%. Count me in the 8% category.
Why would I choose Robert? John was president and Ted became the “lion of the senate.” Robert was only an Attorney General and Senator for a short period before being felled by an assassin’s bullet. What lasting impact could he have had?
In the Cuban Missile Crisis, we came as close as we ever did to having a global nuclear war. The pressure to invade Cuba on President Kennedy was intense. And had we invaded, we now know the Soviets had tactical nukes on ground to respond to our invading force. Had we invaded, our world would be a very different place.
Robert Kennedy, being Jack’s closest adviser, was a major influence in the deliberations. But he was in the vast minority during most of those thirteen days. Most argued to invade. Others argued that we should back down (which likely would have just led to another crisis later). But Robert sought a different position which was neither to submit nor attack. And his personal diplomacy with the Soviet Ambassador was instrumental.
The blockade which is what he ended up advocating was a success. And we all stepped back from the brink of the unimaginable.
Historical analyses and public opinion aren’t always fair. But as for me, count me in the 8%.
All the best and In Christ,