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1967_08_26--028_SP At Home with Heir Apparent

it, at least not as rapidly as they would like to see it done and so they feel alienated. I think also that the demonstrations are indications that there is something more to existence than just material wealth. That in itself cannot make people happy. These young people who are demonstrating or taking LSD trips, or are on pot or whatever it might be, are mostly from the middle-class or upper-class families, who have it made. These young people are not struggling the way the young people were in the 1920's and 1930's, just to survive. Those earlier generations never heard of LSD. They all had to struggle just to make it, to get through school, to get through college, to find jobs, to get married and support a family. With nine or ten million people unemployed, it was very difficult." At this point there was another sudden invasion of the dining room. "Let me tell you something, `When young people see poverty and discrimination, they would like to see the Government do something about it.' ment. Those who wanted then to accomplish something and those who were thinking about changes could, in fact, do something." What would he advise his own children? "I think that life for them must be an adventure," the senator said. "Young people must be shown a way to escape from the mold they live in, in a responsible way, and to get out of themselves, and get interested in other people. That is the most important thing. You can always find other people with bigger problems than you have. You know the story of the man who complained that he had no shoes until he met the man who had no feet." I asked Kennedy if he gets a reading on the younger generation from his own children. "Not much, really," he grinned. "My oldest child is only sixteen." But then, more seriously, he added, "I enjoy them a lot and I try to stimulate their The senator executes a one-man blitz, lunging to put the touch on opposing team's quarterback —not a member of the family—who is fading back to pass the pigskin downfield. Daddy; let me tell you something, Daddy; let me tell you something, Daddy. . . ." Christopher was saying that he and Matthew wanted to go with Daddy to his office, meaning the senatorial office in Washington. "Listen, Christopher, if you want to go to the office you will have to be quiet now." The senator was being stern, though without a trace of anger. "I am going to be in conference for a little while longer and if you want to go to the office you'll have to go upstairs and get dressed. All right?" "D-a-a-a-dy . . ." "All right?" Christopher promptly vanished up the stairs. "For the generation of the 1940's," the senator continued, "it was a question of surviving the war, and they went through that with great difficulty. Then in the 1950's there seemed to be a sort of lost generation, and now in the 1960's and 1970's—a generation born right after the war or at the end of it—they don't know the Second World War. They don't know much about Korea. They are suddenly thrown into life, and they find their leaders using a lot of words, not very successfully. Now some have turned to violence, and that's not very satisfactory either. And we still have these tremendous injustices within the United States and abroad, and that doesn't make a great deal of sense. And we are in a struggle 12,000 miles away, and using bombs under circumstances that disturb these young people. So for all these reasons, and with no outlet for idealism in their lives, and nothing in the way of hope for the future being held up for them, it is very frustrating." "They look to you for leadership," I said. "Do you see the solutions? Or are things just going to get worse?" The senator answered almost without pause, "There has to be an idealism instilled in the country, and a hopeful objective for the future. And it must be realistic. I think this was done to some extent in the early 1960's by the Peace Corps. and by the efforts made in the civil-rights move- interests in many different areas, whether in the fields of poetry, interest in other countries, sports, politics, or any area in which they may have some special interest. A couple of my children are very interested in animals. In fact, they are writing a book on animals, on cruelty to animals. They are having correspondence with people all over the world on that subject. Some of the other children are interested in other areas. I suppose Ethel and I want them to have as wide a range of interests as possible." What, then, did he want for the United States in 1985, say, when his youngest child will be a teen-ager? The senator thought this one over, but not for very long. "Well. I think there has to be trust in individuals. At the same time we have to feel that society needs something more than personal aggrandizement. If material wealth is emphasized, then I think we are going to have estrangements and difficulties in this country. "One of the tragic things about Vietnam is the 33


1967_08_26--028_SP At Home with Heir Apparent
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