Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s Anti-Vax statements are both ignorant and reprehensible

Commentary

How a man can so completely destroy his family legacy is incomprehensible

There’s an old proverb, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” The idea of this “chestnut” is that a person inevitably shares traits with or resembles his or her parents or family.

And then there’s Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. His “apple” fell so far from the Kennedy tree, it’s in an orchard where the trees only grow rotten apples!

RFK Jr., as he’s often referred to, is the third of eleven children of senator and attorney general Robert F. Kennedy. He is a nephew of president and senator John F. Kennedy, and senator Ted Kennedy.

Now, I’m not going to write an homage to the Kennedys; they were, starting with patriarch, Joseph P., and including Jack, Bobby and Teddy, flawed, to say the least. But mixed with those flaws was greatness. And, of all of them, Robert F. Kennedy, was preeminent. RFK was considered by two of his biographers as great, if not the greatest attorney general in American history. His advocacy of civil rights was legendary and his public speaking ability and compassion…who can forget his announcement to a crowd that Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassination…was unparalleled. He was on his way to winning the Democratic presidential nomination and, most likely, the presidency in 1968, if he hadn’t been assassinated in Los Angeles at the age of…42!

And then there’s “Junior,” whose Wikipedia article begins with, “…an American environmental lawyer, author, conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccine advocate.”

Based on his actions last week, it seems appropriate to focus on just two of his more nefarious occupations, anti-vaccine advocate and conspiracy theorist.

At a march in Washington, DC, in an event organizers called “Defeat the Mandates: An American Homecoming” Kennedy (I won’t honor him with his father’s sobriquet, RFK) compared U.S. public health policies regarding vaccine mandates to Nazi-era repression.

Among the poison emanating from this son of one of America’s greatest liberal icons:

  • “Even in Hitler’s Germany you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” apparently not realizing that Anne Frank hid in a building “annex” in Amsterdam and crossing the Alps from the Netherlands to Switzerland would have been quite a feat.
  • “I visited in 1962 East Germany with my father and met people who climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died doing it, but it was possible,” he added, with no actual point in mind.

Putting on his conspiracy theorist hat, Kennedy went on, accusing Bill Gates of tracking Americans using a fleet of tens of thousands of satellites, in order to enforce what he called increasingly draconian rules on a helpless populace.

  • “Today, the mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so none of us can run and none of us can hide,” he said. “Within five years, we are going to see 450,000 low orbit satellites – Bill Gates has his 65,000 satellites alone – [which] will be able to look at every square inch of the planet 24 hours a day.”

Kennedy further claimed that 5G cellular networks, vaccine passports and digital currencies will be used “to harvest our data and control our behavior,” as well as “punish us from a distance and cut off our food supply.”

Full disclosure, I’ve not been following Kennedy’s career closely. But apparently, this isn’t his first encounter with lunacy. As reported in the Times of Israel,

  • “Kennedy has repeatedly utilized Holocaust-related metaphors to discuss his anti-vaccination stance. In his book about coronavirus vaccines released last year, Kennedy titled one chapter ‘Final Solution: Vaccines or Bust.’ According to the Guardian, when asked about the title, Kennedy said: ‘I don’t think the vaccines have anything to do with eradicating the Jews.’”
  • “In 2015, Kennedy used the word ‘holocaust’ to describe proposed legislation mandating vaccines for children and was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League. ‘I want to apologize to all whom I offended by my use of the word ‘holocaust’ to describe the autism epidemic,’ Kennedy said at the time.”

Clearly, the statute of limitation on “apologies” has run out.

Needless to say, the outrage was swift and harsh. According to the Times of Israel,

“The Twitter account for the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum in Poland responded to Kennedy’s comments in a tweet on Sunday. ‘Exploiting of the tragedy of people who suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany – including children like Anne Frank – in a debate about vaccines & limitations during global pandemic is a sad symptom of moral & intellectual decay,’ the account stated.

In covering Kennedy’s outrageous behavior, many news outlets compared his statements to those of some of the more appalling right-wing GOP stalwarts, including Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (regarding vaccine mandates, “It appears Nazi practices have already begun on our youth.”) and Lauren Boebert (“Joe Biden has deployed his Needle Nazis”).

Greene and Boebert are certifiable nut-cases who do what they do to energize their base and ensure reelection. While Robert F. Kennedy is obviously a nut-case as well, he’s also the son of a true American hero. Watching him spew his hateful, ignorant nonsense is not only painful, but sad. To paraphrase Biblical quote, “the virtues of the father have clearly not been visited upon this child.”

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

10 thoughts on “Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s Anti-Vax statements are both ignorant and reprehensible

  1. I think you are forgetting the pro- Nazi patriarch of the family. Joseph P. Kennedy had to resign his Ambassadorship to Great Britain. His famous quote after the Battle of Britain, ” Democracy is done in Britain.”

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  2. Seems like Jr. has an axe to grind. One can only hope he does not have a large sphere of influence. Unfortunately, all the media attention is bound to increase that influence in certain parts of America. Whatever happened to responsible journalism?

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    1. I’m not sure what you mean, exactly, that “these vaccines don’t work.” Is that all vaccines or simply the ones that have lowered the risk of significant illness from those who are afflicted by Covid? I guess the bottom line is “To each his own…except when it comes to impacting the health and life of others. All the best, Ted.

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      1. I guess you have to believe what you have to believe. One million Americans have died from Covid. While infections are currently increasing, deaths are much less likely for those who have been vaccinated.

        This from Nebraska Medicine, hardly a Blue State source:
        The bottom line: COVID-19 vaccination lowers your risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and death. The known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization and even death, far outweigh the potential risks of having a rare adverse reaction to vaccination like myocarditis or blood clots. COVID-19 vaccines do not affect pregnancy or fertility.

        https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/covid-19-vaccine-statistics-rare-side-effects-of-covid-19-vaccines#:~:text=The%20known%20risks%20of%20COVID,myocarditis%20or%20blood%20clots.

        Stay well, stay safe, stay healthy.

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