I have a confession.
Opinion by Kent Heckenlively, JD
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was not my first choice to write the foreword to my new book with Dr. Judy Mikovits, PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION.
Instead, I’d asked a long-time autism activist and friend of mine, known to his friends as the “King of Ruckus.”
The King of Ruckus was happy to write the foreword, but then said, “You should really get Bobby Kennedy to do it.”
I responded that Kennedy seemed to be about the busiest man on the planet, saving the Earth’s air, water, animals, and children, and probably wouldn’t have time to read the book.
“I’ll send him an email,” said the King of Ruckus. “I’m sure he’d be happy to do it.”
I agreed but had additional reservations I did not share with my friend.
You should know I’m one of those political history geeks and Kennedy’s father, Senator Robert Kennedy is one of my heroes. I’ve probably read around three thousand pages in various books about the late senator. Let’s be honest. I just love Senator Robert Kennedy. A picture of him hangs in my science classroom. It’s from the 1968 campaign, he’s in Oregon, and walking along an empty road with his dog, Freckles.
One may think the activist circle is rather small…
…but the first time I’d had the opportunity to interact with Kennedy is when I’d apparently done something wrong in trying to get out a breaking story and was angrily chewed-out by a member of his staff. And I gave it back to that staff member just as good as he tried to give it to me. (I have a Sicilian mother, so you really don’t want to tangle with me!)
Yes, later I did an interview with Kennedy when his group won their case against Monsanto and Round-Up weed-killer, and reviewed several of his books on Amazon, but it’s not like we were close. I suspected he viewed me warily, not certain if I was a friend or foe.
And there is little doubt we have different temperaments.
To take an example from the 1960s, I compare Kennedy to Martin Luther King, Jr., while I am more of a firebrand, like Malcolm X. I don’t mind upsetting people, while Kennedy tries for a different, smoother approach.
I hoped the situation might be like a story I’d read about Senator Kennedy, who as he was preparing his run for the Presidency, met with a group of black activists in a Park Avenue apartment in New York City. The activists didn’t think the senator appreciated their concerns and berated him the entire time for his lack of understanding.
Of course, Senator Kennedy, being a human being, was initially a little offended by the encounter. But then he did something remarkable. Kennedy continued to meet with this group that had berated him. And they became some of his strongest supporters.
Maybe you’re like me and you really don’t know where you fit politically. Sometimes I’m more of a conservative on an issue and sometimes I’m more of a liberal. What I think about a certain issue can change over time, and if I’m genuinely looking at an issue, it probably will.
The reason Senator Kennedy is a political hero of mine is not because at a certain point he had a specific agenda, but he seemed to be responsive to his times and the experiences of individuals he met.
Let me be clear about PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION. It is a Malcolm X book. It is not a Martin Luther King, Jr. book.
I think the entire public health system needs to be torn down and rebuilt. This is MUCH bigger than a remodel.
In addition, I had a different take on the autism epidemic and the crisis in children’s health. I understand and support the questions Kennedy has been asking about mercury, aluminum, and other chemicals found in vaccines. But it seemed like an incomplete argument, as if he was flying a plane with just one wing, and valiantly struggling to keep it aloft.
I was offering to put another wing on the plane, the question of whether the use of animal tissue and aborted human fetal tissue in our therapeutics were unleashing a plague of vast proportions.
Was the mixing of animal and human tissue in culture promoting not only the expression of both animal and human viruses, but also allowing them to promiscuously recombine into deadly pathogens which were robbing our children of their vitality and future?
I have known otherwise responsible leaders in our movement crumble at the introduction of a new idea, banning those who promote them and ask for a discussion.
Yes, I have been banished from groups I helped to form. It’s not a question of intelligence or dedication to the cause from these leaders, but a question of whether they have the temperament to consider new ideas.
Do they want fellow warriors, or just followers?
I was worried when I submitted my book to Kennedy because I had two competing thoughts in my head.
The first was that Robert Kennedy, Jr., is in my opinion, the bravest public figure in our country. Nobody had more to lose, and yet when he was convinced of a certain course of action, he took it.
The second was that the ideas of our book might seem so out of left field to him, that he’d dismiss it, and might actively campaign against it.
I held my breath and waited. All I was asking was for him to write a three to four-page foreword.
I was just getting out of a staff meeting at school when my phone rang. I saw it was Robert Kennedy, Jr. A lump formed in my throat as I answered.
“I just read the entire book on a cross-country plane flight,” said Kennedy. “It’s great. I know what to say in the foreword.”
Instead of a three to four-page foreword, Kennedy wrote a twelve-page foreword. And he decided to make PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION the inaugural book in his Children’s Health Defense imprint at Skyhorse Publishing.
After I spoke to Kennedy, I quickly called my co-author, Dr. Judy Mikovits, to give her the good news. “Oh, I already talked to him and he told me how much he loved it. I said he should call you, because you’re the one who wrote it. You’re the one who took everything I said and turned it into a story.”
Okay, now I was even more impressed with Robert Kennedy, Jr.
In further conversations with me, Dr. Mikovits related how Kennedy had always been friendly to her at conferences, but they hadn’t had any significant discussions. That has changed. “He’s a quick study,” said Mikovits. “When he gets it, he really gets it. He’s calling me all the time now, asking my advice about what the science does and doesn’t say.”
Some leaders understand that new ideas can benefit everybody. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is one of those leaders.
He has my deepest gratitude.
Okay, and since you DEMANDED it, here’s Episode #3 of DANGEROUS SCIENCE with Kent Heckenlively!
Opinion by Kent Heckenlively, JD