Friday, May 26, 2023

Don’t Sell Bobby Kennedy Jr. Short - Mainstream media does a great disservice to us all by its censoring of RFK Jr.


I know, I know, a lot of my friends and erstwhile supporters are going to have what my grandmother would have termed “a conniption” when they see this headline. The long and short of it is this: I don’t care. As Bob Dylan reminded us "the hour is getting late."

For three decades Bobby Kennedy has fought to clean up our environment, to take on the corporate forces that have given us 50 years of growing income disparity, hollowing out the middle class and seeing lifespans retreat. For three decades he has pushed back against efforts by the fossil fuels industry to continue to deny climate change and to capture government agencies on behalf of their corporate benefactors. 

Flowering of Hope at the Pow Wow Originals    Open Edition Prints 

On the two great existential problems of our times, he has been on the frontlines. Not running for office, not posturing, but rolling up his sleeves and working for a better world, leading a purposeful life and dealing with his own dreams and demons.

He’ll be the first to tell you that he is a flawed human being, but are we not all? Yet his candor is refreshing and much of what he says about the dangers to democracy from our corporate media; an economy defined by socialized risk for the wealthy and savage capitalism for the poor, working and middle classes; and agency capture by corporate interests are issues that are a growing cause for alarm for many of us. 

Spirit Pony in Smarts Brook Snow Originals 
Of course, there is the question of his response to the Covid 19 pandemic and the linkage between vaccines and illnesses like autism. I have to admit to having some concern about all this but let’s face it, US leadership under both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have been no paragon of consistency and virtue  during the pandemic. We were all operating by the seat of our pants.
Most of us knew that Donald Trump was unmoored - every time he opened his mouth that was clear, but he was not alone. When it came to guesswork, the difference between Trump and the Biden Administration was a difference of degrees.  Let's begin the healing process by cutting everyone some slack, including ourselves.  But we should at least start with one verifiable set of facts that almost everyone can concur on: We are 4% of the world’s population yet we have had the highest percentage of deaths (1,163,294 deaths to date); our kids have experienced a massive educational hiccup, and the science has been a moving target, even today . . .  Not a record to hang anyone’s hat on.

Yet, what is even more important - and far-reaching - than individual points of agreement or disagreement on this or any other issue, is the broader question of free speech and our access to differing perspectives.

Justice Louis Brandeis said that “sunshine is the best disinfectant”. . . that the remedy for incorrect, incomplete, or false speech is more speech, not less. 

We create institutions to act as a referee on speech - to exert a moderating influence and to act as a source of a collective “constitution of knowledge” as author Jon Rauch calls it. But in an era where too many institutions have been captured by corporate interests or political ideologies, the default must be more speech - until we have successfully wrested these institutions from their corrupting influences.

For example, time after time I have heard  RFK’s position on vaccines characterized as “vaccine denial” yet a more careful search of the record - which is not easy because he has been silenced so thoroughly -  is not that he opposes them but that we are not taking sufficient steps to ensure their safety and provide alternative pathways to those who object to them. This is hardly a position that qualifies as far outside of the mainstream.

Yet, instead of encouraging a rigorous debate on the entire range of his positions he was effectively shunned by the mainstream media, and banned from twitter and other social media. The result was that the very entities that should have been standing up for free speech were complicit in denying all of us - both those who agree and disagree - the opportunity to participate in a rigorous debate that would be far more likely to lead us to what can be considered “currently accepted truth” in an atmosphere where the ground seemingly changes on a daily basis.  

Now I have to admit my own complicity here. For the past two years I have had a growing sense of discomfort about the ease with which many of us - including myself - have rationalized a lax commitment to the protections of free speech in the face of the pandemic. Even the banning of Donald Trump caused some pangs of conscience in the back of my mind. I regret that I did not stand forcefully enough for free speech, I will not make that same mistake again.

Like a large percentage of Americans, I am now among the 70+% who dread the choice we might face in the upcoming election and the “long-tail” political effects.

Colors Over Franconia Notch

We quite nearly lost our democracy to the slow-motion car crash that was Donald Trump. Joe Biden is a decent man and a skilled politician but are he and Kamela Harris equal to the challenge of leading us forward toward a peaceful revolution, because that is - in fact - what we need to halt this descent into a totalitarian dystopia and climate catastrophe? It’s too late for incrementalists. Millions of Americans went from voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. They are clearly not racist, nor are they unmoored. They are, quite simply, desperate. Desperate for hope and change; desperate to believe again in the American experiment. 

In the Democratic primary process, the only way for the President to demonstrate his vision - and his commitment to it - is for him to compete in the primary process and to debate with Bobby Kennedy and Maryanne Williamson - if she demonstrates sufficient support.

Time is short and of the essence. The existential challenges of climate change and wealth disparity hover over us like the sword of Damocles. Give me a candidate who is not afraid to use the words Love and Peace in a speech, who challenges us to believe in ourselves again, who has the courage to take risks for these things by reaching out to all Americans who long for a leader who will go beyond dogma and lay out a path forward to uniting us. A path that will restore the American promise for us and the American example for the World.   

If Bobby Kennedy Jr. has even a small measure of the compassion and vision of his father, and I think he does, Joe Biden may be in for the fight of his political life.

Throw in a genuine and full-throated committment to free speech and the first amendment and we won’t need to choose between the lesser of evils when we cast our vote for President.

About Wayne D. King: Author, podcaster, artist, activist, social entrepreneur and recovering politician. A three-term State Senator, 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor. His art ( is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published five books of his images, most recently, "New Hampshire - a Love Story”. His novel "Sacred Trust" a vicarious, high-voltage adventure to stop a private powerline as well as the photographic books are available at most local bookstores or on Amazon. He lives on the “Narrows” in Bath, NH at the confluence of the Connecticut and Ammonoosuc Rivers and proudly flies the American, Iroquois and Abenaki Flags. His publishing website is:

Produced at Anamaki Studios in Bath, NH. 
This land lies in N’dakinna, the traditional ancestral homeland of the Abenaki, Sokoki, Koasek, Pemigewasset, Pennacook and Wabanaki Peoples past and present. We acknowledge and honor with gratitude those who have stewarded N’dakinna throughout the generations.

Notes & Links

E127: Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. All In Podcast

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Fact Checking RFK Jr on All In Podcast | I break it down

"Our Environmental Destiny" - Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.


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