RFK Kansas University Speech

“With too much insistence and for too long, it seems that we have renounced personal excellence and community values in favour of the mere accumulation of earthly goods. Our GDP has exceeded $800 billion a year, but that GDP – if we judge the US by it – also includes air pollution, cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of weekend carnage. The GDP counts the special locks for our doors and the prisons for those who try to force them. It includes Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and television programs that exalt violence in order to sell toys to our children. It grows with the production of napalm, missiles and nuclear warheads and only increases when popular slums are rebuilt on their ashes. It includes police armored cars to cope with urban uprisings. The GDP does not take into account the health of our families, the quality of their education or the joy of their leisure time. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, the solidity of family values or the intelligence of our debate. The GDP measures neither our wit, nor our courage, nor our wisdom, nor our knowledge, nor our compassion, nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in a nutshell, except what makes life truly worth living. He can tell us all about America, but not if we can be proud to be American.

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