Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Rant #74: Ted Kennedy, R.I.P.
I was never a fan of Ted Kennedy. I thought of the three brothers that entered politics (less the older brother, who was a war casualty), in my mind, he was the lamest, and perhaps the most deceitful of the bunch. His liberal politics played havoc with his more-than-immense lifestyle of a playboy tripping Washington during the 1960s and early 1970s.
But you have to hand it to him. He carried the torch of "America's First Family" for decades after the assassinations of his brothers, and even after his own personal tragedies, some of which were brought on by himself.
I guess you have to go back to the touchpoint of his life, one that he would truly wish hadn't happened. His dalliance with Mary Jo Kopechne--and her subsequent death--put a major blemish on Kennedy's life. I truly believe he would have been our President in the 1970s if this incident hadn't happened, but it did, with the 40th anniversary last month. I believe it dogged him the rest of his life.
He had lots of anguish to bear beyond that unfortunate incident. His own transgressions, his wife's alcoholism, his son's cancer, his nephew's rape trial ... it really never stopped for him, although in his later years, he was looked upon by some as something of an elder statesman.
His life was cut short by a terrible disease, but he fought on, with bandages on his head and vigor inside of him.
I will give him that. He was a true fighter. His kind is pretty much gone now.
I know the media will play up his death, going overboard to salute him as a humanitarian. I mean, it's politically correct to do this--look at how you can't say a bad thing about Michael Jackson now, for fear of people dumping on you--but it's really not necessary. He was an enormous talent who had many, many failings that often overshadowed who he was and what he did.
And yes, he got away with stuff (see above) because he was a Kennedy. Let's be honest about that point. He was a Kennedy--American royalty, if you will--and he did things that would have landed others in, let's say, a bad place. But he was a Kennedy, and you can't do things to a Kennedy that you can do to others. Those that would refute this can only go back to the Kopechne incident to see how being a Kennedy helped him ride out this incident, at least legally.
I don't think the Kennedy name has the same luster now, but back 40 years ago, being a Kennedy was like being a god (lower-case "g" intended).
But again, he was a fighter, a true American original. You can't take that away from him (or his brothers, who also had their own lapses in sensibility).
No, I never liked Ted Kennedy, but I respected him. May he rest in peace.
Posted by Larry at 4:42 AM