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Editor’s note: Children’s Health Defense is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and as such does not directly or indirectly participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office, and does not endorse any political candidate for any office.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Wednesday officially launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, telling an overflow crowd in Boston that if he has not “significantly dropped the level of chronic disease in our children by the end of my first term, I do not want you to reelect me.”
Kennedy Children’s Health Defense founder and chairman on leave, spoke for nearly two hours and covered a wide range of issues — everything from his family’s history in American politics, to the military-industrial complex, to widespread censorship and to the attacks on civil liberties, the environment and public health.
Throughout his speech, Kennedy frequently referred to how all of these issues directly affect children.
He reminded the audience of the obligation America’s leaders have to protect children — from toxic pesticides, from dangerous pharmaceuticals and from the “corrupt merger of state and corporate power” that robs future generations of their health and of their ability to achieve financial security.
Kennedy who has a long and successful career as an environmental attorney, decried the attack on the environment by corporate polluters. He told the crowd:
“If we want to meet our obligation as a generation, as a civilization, as a nation, which is to create communities for our children that provide them with the same opportunities for dignity and enrichment and prosperity and good health as the communities that our parents gave us, we’ve got to start by protecting our environmental infrastructure.
“If we want to measure our economy … we ought to be measuring it based upon how it produces jobs and the dignity of jobs over the generations, and how it preserves the value of the assets of our community.”
He also had harsh words for the pandemic lockdown policies, which he said were “a war on American children,” citing a Brown University study that found toddlers lost 22 IQ points.
“Children all over the country have missed their milestones” because of the lockdowns, Kennedy said, adding:
“What is the CDC’s response? The CDC five months ago revised its milestones so that now a child no longer is expected to walk at 1 year … they walk at 18 months. And a child now does not have to have 50 words in 24 months, it’s 30 months. So instead of fixing the problem, they are trying to cover it up.”
Kennedy called out the failure of public health officials and the U.S. healthcare system to address the epidemic of chronic disease in the U.S., especially among children.
“We have the sickest children on earth in this country,” he said, rattling off a list of chronic diseases affecting children that includes obesity, ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder] allergies, neurological and neurodevelopment issues — and autism, which according to the latest statistics, now affects 1 in 36 children in the U.S.
Kennedy dismissed claims that the rise in autism rates can be attributed to improved diagnostics.
“What regulators will say is, oh, well, we just started noticing it for the first time,” he said. “Missing autism is like missing a train wreck. So it’s absurd, but more importantly, there is study after study after study that shows … this epidemic is real.”
One of the key themes of Kennedy’s campaign and his speech is his ambition to heal the deep divisions that plague the country today.
“And I’m going to try to do that by encouraging people to talk about the values that we have in common, rather than the issues that keep us apart,” he said. “And I’m going to do that by telling the truth to the American people because that is the core — that is the core of this division.”