Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIP Edward M. Kennedy, February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009)

Love him or hate him, idolize or demonize him, Ted Kennedy was a giant and legend and his impact on American politics and the country will continue for some time.

Ted Kennedy was supposed tos follow in his brother's footsteps and become president. Instead he became the third longest serving senator in US History and probably achieved far more for this country than he ever would have as president.

Memories of Kennedy will always be linked with the 1969
Chappaquiddick incident when he drove off a bridge and the young woman who was with him was killed. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a suspended sentence. No politician would get away with that today and rightfully so.

In as much as it is possible to atone for such an act, Ted Kennedy's tireless work to improve life for the least of these in this country certainly at least, adds another side to the his story. Some would argue there is no atonement for such an act, and I note those who do not approve of his politics are particularly unforgiving, while those who agree with his politics are more likely to gloss over this terrible incident.

Ted Kennedy, like all of us, was a mixed bag. It is the whole of our lives, the good and the bad, that makes us who we are. Who knows if it was not the guilt of the results of the act of a reckless young man that helped fuel his devotion to his work? It would not be the first time God has made something good out of something very bad.

I for one, believe we have lost a treasure.


  1. Well put. It's always hard to know how to deal with people's death--we are all mixed bags, some of us more mixed than others. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. I always marveled that he was a champion of regular people even though he came from privilege. I wonder what was behind that?

  3. Joelle - It is the mixed bag, complexm, flawed hero dimensions of Kennedy's life that make him such a treasure to me. It is his utter humanity at its worst and at its best that evoked such compassion, vulnerability, passion, pathos, and commitment to the cause. His humor and aptitude for bridging gaps and building relationships for the common good made him effective in his senatorial calling. You are right that we have lost a treasure.