Ted Kennedy Loses Battle With Cancer
First off, let me just say that the loss of any human life is a tragedy for those whom the deceased was close to. I can well imagine, having lost two close family members myself since the beginning of the year, how Sen. Kennedy's family and friends are feeling at this time and my most sincere condolences go out to them. If there are any of them reading this, know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.
That said, the death of Edward "Teddy" Kennedy is - in many ways rightfully so - being treated as a bigger event that the death of Michael Jackson. The death of Teddy Kennedy marks the end of a political dynasty. Kennedy had three elder brothers and six sisters and is the only one of the four brothers to not die a violent death. Two - Jack and Bobby - were assassinated. The third died in World War II serving his country in uniform. If we were to believe the media, then we'd think of Teddy Kennedy as a selfless rich kid who dedicated his life to assisting those not as well off as himself, whose tireless devotion to his cause was legendary within the Senate.
I grew up in Kennedy country. Although it happened before I was born, Chappaquiddick and Mary Jo Kopechne were incidents that I knew about from the beginnings of my political awareness. Kennedy was the unassailable Senator who couldn't be voted out of office. Even his second degree Murder of a young woman didn't hurt his political aspirations. Kennedy knew that he could get away with anything because of the sacrifices his family had made for the country. I am not enamored with the Liberal Lion nor am I awestruck by his 'awesome presence' in the least.
At the height of the Cold War, Kennedy met with representatives from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to plan for the assassination of President Ronald Reagan. If you look that up, that's called Treason. If you look at what he went through personally with two brothers being assassinated and consider that he was willing to put another family through that same pain, that's called heartless politics.
Many of the legendary stories I've heard about Kennedy - some I had witnessed myself - spoke of his monumental ego and his belief that he was always right and any attempts to prove him wrong in any way were met with the insinuation of his prodigious physical proportions and enormous ego. The saying and attitude of "do you know who I am" was coined and exemplified by Kennedy.
Kennedy was a partisan politician who would sooner see a good idea die than being raised and pushed through by his political opponents. For him, no idea no matter how well thought out or deserving or serving of the public good was ever a good idea if it came from someone with a parenthetical "R" after their name. Nothing - not even treason or murder - was too much for him to consider for the good of his party.
So to me, the human loss is tragic but I hope that this marks an end to the Kennedy era of politics. Kennedy represented everything I despise about politics: the partisan, power-mongering, corrupt, entitled and arrogant people that populate the hallowed halls of Congress. This is a man who literally got away with murder and treason and is emblematic of everything wrong with Washington DC: he served in the Senate longer than most people last in any career. He was placed in the Senate and kept there based more on his name and the actions of his brothers, who never seemed to like him much when they were alive if the stories I've heard are true.
Did he do any good in office? Yes, some. Statistically it would be impossible, but then again my state is "represented" by John Kerry whose two decades in the Senate have produced a total of three bills that he co-sponsored, none of which were passed so what does my state know? His bills for civil rights and equal voting rights were very good and necessary. His tireless efforts to bring peace to Ireland culminated in peace on that isle. Do not take this rant to mean that I think his life was worthless; quite the contrary. He was human like everyone else; he had his ugly side and his warts and he was no saint by any measure nor should he be considered one now that he's gone on to his ultimate reward.
I can already hear the rumblings that will become a rallying cry for the socialist minded progressives currently running our government; "pass it for Teddy" and the sentimental fools who theoretically would oppose them normally will bow to the emotions and vote the biggest mistake of the year - and that's saying quite a bit - without having read it, debated it or listened to the citizens of the US that they purport to serve. Teddy Kennedy will become a martyr whose death will become the rallying cry that pushes Health Care Reform through without regard for the concerns of the public. After all, he considered it his "life's work".
Let us mourn Kennedy and end the bitter partisan politics that were so much a part of his life. Let his death do as much for us as a nation as his brothers' lives did. Let this death of a well-known member of a large and wealthy clan mark the end of an era and the beginning of a new and far better world.
Rest in peace Teddy Kennedy