The Other I

August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy

Filed under: Just Stuff,Political thoughts — theotheri @ 2:20 pm

We are five hours ahead of Massachusetts time, so we learned when we turned on the news this morning only a few hours after his death that Ted Kennedy died last night in his home in Hyannis Port.

I feel a sense of loss at his going that is more than nostalgia for the end of an era that began with the exuberant hope of John Kennedy’s election.

Yes, there was the drinking and the womanizing and the unanswered questions about Chappaquiddick.  Nonetheless, Ted Kennedy seems to me to be someone whose resilience is both extraordinary and hugely admirable.  Death seemed to stalk him – his oldest brother died in World War II,  a sister in a plane crash several years later,  two more brothers  were assassinated, a plane crash killed his nephew and his family, a drug overdose killed another.

I have faced the death of one sister.  It was like losing not just an arm and a leg, but half my heart.

But Ted Kennedy kept on.  One commentator said of him that his “dirty little secret” which made him such an effective Senator was that he worked very very hard.

He fought for the poor, for the dispossessed, for health care, and education for everyone who needed it.  Not just for those who could afford it.  I think Obama will miss his wise counsel and effective help in getting his proposed legislation through a fractious Congress.  He was able to craft compromises in Congress few others could achieve.

There are already tributes to Kennedy from people who knew him well and appreciated him and what he achieved more fully than I.  I’m sure he felt that there was so much more to do, so much more that he’d hoped to accomplish.  But what would America be like without the contribution he did make in his short 77 years?

This is a small tribute from someone with no public profile whatsoever.    I think there are many of us.

Edward Kennedy was not a personal friend.   I mourn for the loss to our country of a great statesman.  But I celebrate him too.


  1. I too feel the loss of an era. I grew up watching the Kennedys. You expressed so well how most of us feel about his life and death.


    Comment by djc1 — August 28, 2009 @ 3:12 am | Reply

    • One just feels, don’t you think, that one has to say that, despite all his faults and limitations, Kennedy served his country, and accomplished some real good? I disagreed with Kennedy’s support of the IRA in Northern Ireland and still can’t understand it. But in the end, he stood up to Jerry Adams and said that he was not supporting the rule of law. We are all human beings with our limitations. But I think his heart was great.


      Comment by theotheri — August 28, 2009 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

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