America is more polarized and divided now than at any time in living memory. Both sides seem to agree that the basic problem is the horrible people on the other side. Both sides are wrong. The basic problem is the division itself. A divided public lacks the strength to resist exploitation or to overcome the inertia of the status quo. The classic American can-do spirit exhausts itself in endless battles. So let’s heal the divide.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has clear positions on most of today’s divisive trigger issues like abortion, guns, and immigration, but he knows that both sides have legitimate concerns and legitimate moral positions. No one is deplorable. Furthermore, most of the disagreements obscure deeper shared values. Everyone wants their children to be safe. Few relish the thought of dead fetuses, nor do they want to force women to have unwanted babies. Everyone wants safe streets, yet few wish for millions of people to languish in prison. Robert F. Kennedy will draw on the broad moral agreements beneath our divisions. He will model careful listening, and create conditions where each group can hear the stories of the other. He will lead the way toward national reconciliation, respectful dialog, and willingness to change, to grow, and to forgive.
In the case of race relations, reconciliation includes repairing the damage caused by centuries of bigotry. Our administration will take racial healing seriously through a program of Targeted Community Repair. Our operating principle is not guilt for the sins of one’s ancestors, but rather compassion. We will invoke the authentic desire in all Americans, white and black, liberal and conservative, to improve the condition of our Black and Native brothers and sisters.
These commitments to respect and unity start right now, in the campaign. In Kennedy's own words, “Every nation, like every individual, has a darker side and a lighter side. The easiest thing for a politician to do is to appeal to our greed, to our anger, to our fear, to our xenophobia, our bigotry, all of the alchemies of tribalism. I will appeal instead to our generosity as a people, our goodness, our kindness, and our courage.”