August 26, 2009

Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy died today at the age of 77. May God have mercy on his soul. I will light a candle for him tonight, for no one’s soul should be beyond the reach of God’s infinite and abundant mercy.

Those who follow this distant outpost in the blogsphere might find this hard to believe, but I actually voted for the man on more than one occasion. Growing up in Massachusetts, I liked him and, like most of my generation, bought into the the whole “Kennedy mystique”. Robert F. Kennedy was, and will always be, one of my heroes – he was a dreamer, as am I – and Ted just followed in his not-insignificant wake. You almost felt sorry for him.

Most certainly he had his flaws – actions he will have to make amends for, I believe, in his afterlife – but no one could deny he had that Kennedy ideal of standing up for the common man. Even if, like his own brothers, his personal life might be lived in contradiction to those beliefs.

You’re going to hear a lot over the next week about “the lion of the Senate” and high-fallutin’ testimonies about the so-called esteemed Senator from Massachusetts. But make no mistake about it: Ted Kennedy never believed anything he ever pushed for politically was meant for him. As a human being he had faults just like you and me – I’m OK with that – but as a politician he was the poster-child of hypocrisy. As a Kennedy, he always believed rules were for the unwashed dopes of this country, not for him. He would unbelievably rail against the personal character and belief systems of conservatives like Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts, as if his own record were somehow clean and white as snow.

As the youngest of the brothers, he traveled in the rarified air of his predecessors, and would never miss an opportunity to recall their own legacy as a way of reinforcing and/or establishing his own. Because he always knew he could never match either the charisma or the political intuition of his brothers, I think he used the Senate as a way to craft and establish his own identity.

But let’s make one thing clear: in the grand scheme of things, Ted Kennedy was no giant. Rather, he was nothing more than a pretentious, hypocritical pretender to the throne of a kingdom that had long ceased to exist. Hell, he couldn’t even articulate before Roger Mudd and a nationwide audience why he was worthy of consideration for President in 1980. Were his last name different, I doubt he could even have been elected dogcatcher of Waltham.

I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead. But I can only compare Ted Kennedy to his brother Robert, and he was no Robert Kennedy. Maybe that’s unfair. But there is no denying that Ted Kennedy was nothing more than a classic, modern-day liberal who always thought he knew better than the common man and never met a tax or government program he didn’t like or vote for. Or conservatives that he didn’t rail against in long-winded sanctimonious orations. He was an arrogant, elitist leftover from a time thankfully long past, where political families could push their own dreams and desires ahead of the common good for their own damned delusions of grandeur.

I’m certain Massachusetts will be stupid enough to put yet another Kennedy in the Senator’s place as a testimony to his legacy, but all they will be doing is delaying the inevitable. The Kennedy era is now officially past. They don’t make them much like Edward Moore Kennedy anymore, and when it comes to American politics, for that I think we can all be grateful.

May he rest in peace, and may God grant peace and comfort to those who mourn his passing.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:06 | Comments Off on An Era Ends
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