Thursday, January 5, 2017

Do not understand me too quickly.......

     He was changing in deeper ways, too.  Defining his own public identity meant clarifying his own beliefs, as opposed to those that had come from Jack.  Few could see those critical differences even when the two were working side by side.  Both men were pragmatic, but Bobby was more willing to experiment with radical solutions and spend political capital.  Both talked about promoting Negro rights and battling poverty, but Bobby felt injustice on a gut level and lost sleep over it in ways that his imperturbable and cerebral brother never did.  Bobby also embraced contradiction in ways neither Jack nor Teddy wanted to or could.  His realism butted up against his romanticism even as the existentialist in him looked for ways to coexist with the politician.  He was half ice, half fire.  How, observers wondered, could someone so shy be so intimidating?  Was it possible to love both Albert Camus and roughhouse football?  "Robert Kennedy's motto," said the Village Voice's Jack Newfield, "could have been, 'Do not understand me too quickly.' ... His most basic characteristics were simple, intense, and in direct conflict with each other.  He was constantly at war with himself."

-Larry Tye,  Bobby Kennedy:  The Making of a Liberal Icon

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