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Nepo Baby RFK Jr. Hates Vaccines, Poppers, and the Kennedy Legacy

Nepo Baby RFK Jr. Hates Vaccines, Poppers, and the Kennedy Legacy

RFK Jr.
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Spreading dangerous viewpoints and preaching transphobia somehow makes someone a viable presidential candidate in 2023.

The Special Olympics World Games are taking place in Berlin right now. The Special Olympics, arguably one of the greatest nonprofits ever created, was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Most people these days would only be aware of her as Maria Shriver’s mom and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former mother-in-law.

The impetus for the Special Olympics was Eunice’s oldest sister, Rosemary Kennedy, who was developmentally delayed and was further disabled by a lobotomy, arranged in secret by her father in 1941. Rosemary died in 2005, and her sister Jean, the last surviving of the original nine Kennedy children, died in 2020 at the age of 92.

Jean Kennedy Smith was a former ambassador to Ireland. She also started “Very Special Arts,” now known as the Department of VSA at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. That program provides arts and education programming for youth and adults with disabilities.

Rosemary, Eunice, and Jean, along with Kathleen, were the sisters of President John F. Kennedy, former Attorney General and Sen.Robert F. Kennedy, and former Sen. Edward Kennedy. President Kennedy needs no description. Robert or “Bobby” was a passionate and outspoken advocate for the poor and civil rights, and Edward or “Teddy” sponsored more than 300 bills that were signed into law, most of them to help children, marginalized communities, and the poor. He was a fierce defender of the LGBTQ+ community.

All the incredible work of this generation of Kennedys, who heeded the advice of their father, Joseph P. Kennedy, about the more you have the more you give back. The Kennedy name, for most of the 20th century, was revered. While some of this generation’s children and grandchildren have held public office and worked with nonprofits, the Kennedy magic has more or less fizzled.

Now the remaining flicker is at risk of being extinguished with the lunacy that is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign for president, as he challenges President Biden for the Democratic nomination. Not only is his grandfather rolling in his grave, but so are all his aunts, uncles, and most especially his father and namesake.

And he’s failed epically on his grandfather’s advice. What do people think of RFK Jr.? Most of it isn’t fit for print.

For a while, he did give back, working on a score of environmental issues, but somewhere along the way, he started speaking out against vaccines, particularly for children, which is like playing with fire. And then, during the pandemic, speaking out ridiculously against Dr. Anthony Fauci and COVID-19 vaccines. The problem here is that an older generation who trusted the Kennedys was wrongly trusting in him. While I don’t have proof, I’m sure some of the millions who put their money and their life on RFK Jr.'s advice succumbed to COVID.

We reported on a slew of Kennedy’s inane comments, first about Fauci: “But for Tony Fauci, it was really important to call [COVID] a virus because that made it an infectious disease, and it allowed him to take control of it.” I’ve talked to Dr. Fauci numerous times, and I can pretty much guarantee this is the last thing in the world that he wanted to control, let alone happen.

And about us: “There were people that were part of a gay lifestyle, they were burning the candle at both ends…there were poppers on sale everywhere at the gay bars.” He thinks poppers caused AIDS, and that contaminated water turns kids transgender and frogs gay.

While I believe the Kennedy magic has fizzled thanks to this charlatan, many think it has not.

Last week, a survey was released by The Economist and YouGov that showed Kennedy with the highest favorability rating of all the current 2024 presidential contenders. He chalked up 49 percent versus 30 percent who thought of him unfavorably. As a Kennedy aficionado and a political junkie, I’m trying to make sense of all this hodgepodge around RFK Jr.

To begin with, the only media that will talk to Kennedy is the likes of conservative kooks Jordan Peterson and Alex Jones — all three have been kicked off Twitter. Is Kennedy that desperate for publicity? No, it’s just that his views are so far from the Democratic Party's and so far from reality and facts that no legitimate news outlet would give him the space. Friends of mine have asked, “Shouldn’t he be in the Republican presidential primary?” And the answer to that is that it has nothing to do with politics and more to do with sanity.

Consider this. Kennedy will speak at the end of the month at the Moms for Liberty summit. The organization was labeled an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Also speaking are Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. No honorable Democrat would be caught dead at a meeting like this, and no sane person would either.

To be sure, the Kennedys have been marred by tragedy and travesty. Joe Jr., JFK, RFK, and Kathleen “Kick” all died violently. One of RFK Jr. 's 10 siblings, his brother David, died of a drug overdose. Another brother, Michael, died in a skiing accident. There was Teddy’s Chappaquiddick calamity and William Kennedy Smith's rape trial.

On his mother’s side, RFK Jr.’s first cousin Michael Skakel was convicted in 2002 of murdering a neighbor when he was 15 years old. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison; however, in 2013, his conviction was overturned and a new trial ordered, and Skakel was freed on appeal and released on $1.2 million bail. And more personally, RFK Jr.’s second wife, Mary, committed suicide in 2012 in the garage of the home they shared. They were estranged at the time of her death.

In the annals of Kennedy lore, RFK Jr.’s comments and stances will surely rate as another travesty. Will the 49 percent who view Kennedy favorably start to peel away after more of his instability is revealed? Or are many of these 49 percent the extreme right, which means that in a Democratic primary, Kennedy’s support would be weak?

Does the Kennedy name still have currency, and will voters who love the brand but don’t follow the news stick with the lineage? Don't forget the incredibly bizarre QAnon belief that JFK Jr. will rise from the dead. Will RFK's entire family, who signed a letter disavowing their support of him, start to speak out against him? Will his popular wife, actress Cheryl Hines, make him see the error of his ways?

In this crazy, mixed-up world we live in, the bottom line is that it is impossible to figure out what is going on in the mind of this 68-year-old man whose very initials represent so much about what is good and right.

The fact of the matter is that Kennedy’s viewpoints offer a threat to child safety and go against trying to prevent another pandemic. At the same time his detrimental comments about our community are perpetrating homophobia and transphobia. There are no bounds for his extremism.

To quote RFK Jr.’s uncle, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” The best thing RFK Jr. can do for his nation is drop out of the presidential race.

John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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John Casey

John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. The columns include interviews with Sam Altman, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Colman Domingo, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Ripa and Mark Counselos, Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Fauci, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and many others. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the Nobel Prize-winning UN IPCC, and with four of the largest retailers in the U.S.
John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. The columns include interviews with Sam Altman, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Colman Domingo, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Ripa and Mark Counselos, Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Fauci, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and many others. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the Nobel Prize-winning UN IPCC, and with four of the largest retailers in the U.S.