Published October 15, 2019


Page 193

The antiwar voices forced the president to decide not to run for
reelection. The earth was shaking. President Johnson was a broken
man who realized that much of the good he achieved, drowned in the
blood of the Vietnam War—a war that America had no will to win.
Vice President Hubert Horatio Humphrey (HHH) became the
heir apparent for the Democrat nomination for president. However,
HHH wasn’t going to win it unchallenged. Senator Robert Kennedy,
the brother of the slain president, had seen enough. America was
hemorrhaging, and Kennedy decided that he had the answers; he
would stop the bleeding from the Vietnam War and heal an angry

Like many Americans, I was a Kennedy watcher. The family
captured America’s imagination like no other in modern times. In
many ways the former attorney general was a better candidate for the
presidency than his brother, John. Among black Americans, Robert
Kennedy came across as genuinely moved by their plight and the
plight of all races. An underdog, the New York senator literally rolled
up his sleeves and waded into the fray.

The election primaries were furious battlegrounds. All the polit-
ical pundits agreed that Robert “Bobby” Kennedy needed a strong
showing in key Western states before the Democratic convention.
The Northwest joined his camp, and all eyes turned to California as
the make-or-break prize. Winning this state could lead to a tri
umphant march to the convention.

The anxious waiting was over. The California primary returns
were in; the returns showed that California Democrats wanted RFK
to be the party’s standard bearer. Kennedy’s victory speech con-
cluded. The reporters’ election summaries and campaign projections
faded into background noise as I read and reflected. The forty-two
year-old Kennedy had something special. He exhibited more than
just the Kennedy mystique, he also had substance. Kennedy could
make a difference in the direction of the country.

The announcer’s voice changed tone when he spoke excitedly
about a commotion and confusion surrounding the senator’s
entourage as they exited the Ambassador Hotel in downtown, Los
Angeles. Everyone stopped breathing for an instant. Unspoken
prayers formed in their minds. “No! Please God, not again!” The
radio crackled with the news flash: Shots were fired as the senator’s
entourage departed the hotel through the kitchen! The senator had
been shot! The gunman was subdued and captured!

The tragedy unfolded over the next hours; then, it was consigned
to history. A young, Middle Eastern man resented statements made
by Senator Kennedy in support of the State of Israel. He allowed his
angry passion to become deadly. Another light was snuffed out in
America. Kennedy! King! Kennedy! All slain within five years!
Even those citizens who didn’t deeply mourn these losses were in
shock! What was happening in our country? Couldn’t lively politi-
cal and social debate exist without hatred and murder? I couldn’t
hold back my tears.

Hear The Author Show interview with William L. Ingram about writing FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK: