Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gathering My Thoughts On Ted Kennedy

... has proven to be quite difficult.

I was born and brought up here in Massachusetts with The Kennedy Family as an icon and the example of what one family can do for its community, its state and its country.

I remember well my youth and my youthful enthusiasm for JFK and then Robert.  And the horror that went along with their assassinations.  

An interesting thought for me while I think on the Kennedy Family and its involvement in politics is that Ted Kennedy has been able to live up to the demands, the dreams, and the reputation of the family because he is the one whose life was not cut short in his youth.  He has spent years in the public eye, not all of them pretty, but has come through as a beloved contemporary, across ages and beliefs and machinations in politics and is definitely one of Massachusetts Own.

I am no expert on politics nor am I affiliated with a political party.  I am registered as an independent and will stay that way.  My biggest challenge when thinking about politics is being able to believe, choose and have faith, trust and hope with one person ... no matter the affiliation.  So, as for Ted Kennedy?  It matters not to me his party.  Or his politics for that matter.  I know that Ted Kennedy did much for the 'underdog' and that his family is giving and compassionate and willing.  They will continue the legacy of the family long after Ted is gone and they will do so with the same dignity, grace and generosity that he has displayed in his senior years.

Some say he was a great politician.  I ask, "was?"  We need not put him in his grave now and we need not choose his replacement.  I think Ted Kennedy is made of tough Irish stock and I think his life on the water has made him strong of mind and body.  I believe he will attack this illness, this cancer with as much energy and tenacity as he has anything in his life and while, at the end of the day, this cancer will take his life, he will have fought it first.

When I look at Ted Kennedy I see a man who suffered great tragedies in his family, with his family.  I see a man who took on the responsibility of his late brother's children and families.  I see a man who made the blunder of all blunders when he left Mary Jo behind.  It is not up to me to forgive him or decide if he has paid his due in meaningful ways beyond the justice system. 

I recall conversations of my parents, when disillusionment set in and one or the other would say something along the line of 'Joe Kennedy was nothing but a rum runner' or, 'The Kennedy children will suffer the sins of the father.'  I knew though, that The Kennedy Family was an integral part of my parents lives.  They loved The Kennedy's.  The family were celebrity and were looked upon as royalty here and for many years both my parents held them in awe.  They were as sad as any one of us when first JFK and then Robert lost their lives.

I wish Ted Kennedy and his family the strength and support they need to get through this difficult time in his life.  My prayers are with him.




frankandmary said...

I did appreciate some of the work he did on the education committee, but I'm not a liberal, Democrat or Kennedy fan, however this transcends that. I heard a slightly negative editorial slant to a report about him today.  I find anyone gratified by his(or anyone's) suffering totally devoid of compassion.
I'm pretty sure this cannot go all that well medically, but I wish him peace. ~Mary

mlraminiak said...

I was most interested in seeing this from your point of view; after all, you are the "Massachusan(!?) among us.

Your parents were right...Joe Kennedy was pretty much a scoundrel.  But he was bound and determined that his sons were going to be...well, perhaps more than he could ever be.  This is the hope of most parents, is it not?

Well written, Kath.  Thank you.  

Lisa  :-]  

mutualaide said...

He was Lisa.  Indeed Joe was something of a scoundrel.   And I think that JFK was something of the same, but it was with women rather than illegal activities.  Joe left big boots to fill and dreams to fulfill.

I could have gone on.  I did go to the JFK Library (as you know) and I discovered that JFK was not all that I thought he was -- but I was TEN YEARS OLD when he was assassininated, so I guess I should have expected that.  

But their lives; The Kennedy's and their tragedies belong to all of us 'townies' so-to-speak and we hurt right along with the family each time something befalls them.  

They really are a beloved bunch here.  Even when the politics don't line up.  

thesheatons said...

Yeah, 'ol Joe was a scoundrel. But, maybe it just proves that good things can be done by people who aren't saints. We're certainly stuck with the disasters committed by politicians and advisors who pretend to be virtuous and still manage to blow everyone out of the water.

Maybe the scoundrels manage to do some good because they can put themselves in the other guys shoes.