Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Political Beliefs

by Bill Murphy (1958) for The Los Angeles Times
Today I was asked what events formed my political beliefs. My father was a huge influence in forming my political beliefs. He was an outspoken Democrat in a mostly Republican (John Birch Society) city. I remember when I was 7 years old he talked about this great nominee for President of the United States - John F. Kennedy. I remember lawn signs and going to walk with him as he talked about this man.  Then a speech that changed my life: 
"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. *
— John F. Kennedy, inauguration address, January 1961. 
I have asked myself many times in different situations, what can I do to help others. 

On August 28, 1963 another man took the stage and delivered a speech that was to become famous:

 "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!" delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
I became a follower of MLK...what a great idea in 1963 in Southern California to think that one day all people would be judged by the content of character. I don't know if he was thinking of equality for women, but I was.

2 days after my 10th birthday, on November 22, 1963, I was sitting in my 5th grade class at 10:35 am when the phone rang and I looked up to see my teacher, crying! He put the phone down and announced to the class that our President had been shot during a parade in Dallas, Texas. He went and got a T.V. and turned it on in the classroom and we watched the events for the rest of the day.

Then on April 4, 1968 again my life was rocked with the news of the shooting of MLK. How could someone who spoke of peaceful solutions been shot?  I made the decision to wear a black arm band to school the next day. 

In 1968 I again helped my dad with the campaign of another Kennedy, simply known as Bobby or RFK.  We were so excited when he was declared the winner of the California primary on June 5, 1968 and we were still sitting in front of the T.V. at midnight when the announcement came that he had been shot!

So all these events & speeches are what shaped my view of the world.

*(The quote was originally cited by Gibran Khalil Gibran)"