Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Remembrance

I spent most of today watching the funeral of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy was not my favorite Kennedy. His older brother, John, inspired me many years ago to join the Peace Corps. Serving in the Peace Corps in 1967-69 in the Republic of Niger changed my life forever. I was always a bit of a closet liberal, but living in a 3rd world country amidst poverty, poor educational opportunities, lack of health care, lack of the basic necessities of life, made me a 60s liberal forever. The day Bobby was assassinated was the day that I grew up. My youth was over; the hopes I had for a perfect world inspired by the days of Camelot were unrealistic and never to be.

I thought of Teddy as the brother who never quite grew up. While John and Bobby lived during a time when frailties and indiscretions were routinely ignored by the media, Teddy's failures made front-page news. Chappaquidick, drinking, a divorce in a family that abhored divorce, womanizing .... Teddy's foibles inevitably made front-page news. As the years went on, I saw him grow into a talented politician, orator, negotiator, a man who knew that a bill compromised was far better than a bill scrapped. During campaign years or especially tough congressional negotiations, his booming voice rang out over the tv waves. There was no mistaking his voice. This was a Kennedy speaking.

Today, I saw a more human side of Teddy Kennedy. I listened to his family, his friends, his Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle speak about the man. They spoke of his warmth, his loving spirit, his devotion to friends and family, his love of country, his dedication to public service - a dedication shared by all the Kennedys.

I liked Senator Kennedy's politics. I think I also would have liked the man.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know much about him to be honest, Mom. Now I have about an equal mixture of his bipartisanship in politics and a running analysis of him leaving the girl in the car in a lake. The news seems to have trouble these days not focusing on one radical end of a spectrum. Since most humans are somewhere in the middle, maybe they should work on that.