RFK, Jr. to Big Carbon: Your Day is Over

Graphic by Osha Gray Davidson

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s keynote address to the Solar Power International conference in Anaheim, CA, has been described in the media as a “barn-barner” (the New York Times), “rousing” (Greentech Media) and “inspiring” (New Energy News).

It certainly was all that. As someone who has followed not just Robert, Jr., but also the career of his late father, Senator RFK, Sr., the best way I can describe the speech is, “consistent.”


Since the 1960s, the two Kennedy’s have spoken to deep-rooted traditional American values of democracy, equality and activism — no matter what the ostensible subject matter was.

Moments before he was assassinated in 1968, Robert Kennedy, Sr. was inspiring his supporters with a renewed call to activism. It’s an anachronism now tinged with condescension to speak of “the little guy,” but both Kennedys — and the late Senator Ted Kennedy as well — spent their lives working for this figure popularized during the last great American economic upheaval.

Listen to Kennedy’s Wednesday speech; the message is all “Bobby,” but on a topic virtually unknown to him during his short life.

Bobby had been called “ruthless,” and he could be that. In this era, however, with so much on the line, and with energy and climate change the looming issues of the day, it’s good to have a strong-willed and tough champion fighting in our corner.

It’s how you win. And this is a battle we can’t afford to lose.


Osha Gray Davidson is a contributing blogger at Mother Jones and publisher of The Phoenix Sun, an online news service reporting on solar energy. He tweets @thephoenixsun.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.