I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time getting to deep into Ted Kennedy nostalgia, because that would be a little disingenuous. The guy has been a figure in political life since the 1960s, and I’ve only really been paying attention to such things for the past five years. If I had a favorite Kennedy though, it would probably have been Edward. It’s pretty easy for people in my parents generation to relate to Robert or John, and particularly our grandparents for John, but who did we have?
Camelot was more or less over well before I was even born. Ted Kennedy is as close to that as a lot of us ever got, and now that he has passed away, I think it’s really over. Sure, Kennedy Kids are scattered throughout the American political system, but he was that last, final, clinging thread to that earlier age that has now snapped and is closed forever.
Certainly, his life was not without controversy: the scandal involving his automobile accident at Chappaquiddick, his bitter primary struggle with Carter in 1980, and a multitude of substance-abuse related incidents; in spite of that, he persevered through it all and remained relevant to the legislative stage. No small feat to combat so much negative press and still emerge from it all with the dominating image being that of a dedicated public servant.
It was the funniest thing, last night, turning on the TV. Allison had wanted to finish watching an episode of Countdown that had started at 12 AM CST. She left her house at 12:15, and we turned the TV on at around 12:30. On the screen was an image of Ted Kennedy. I remember walking into the kitchen, commenting that I hated it when they would show B-Roll of him, because it always scared me for a second because…
“-because you think he’s died,” Allison finished for me. I sat down, and saw they were showing footage of young Ted Kennedy too. We both realized in that moment what we were watching, and it was an eerie moment I’ll not soon forget.
Certainly Kennedy leaves a huge legacy behind for his surviving family, and a huge void in the United States Senate. I hope that his dedication to his causes will galvanize Congress to make meaningful, well-reasoned reforms to healthcare, in the fashion that Kennedy would have were he well enough to do it himself. I’ll sign off with his most famous quotation:
“For all those whose cares have been our concern,
the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives,
and the dream shall never die.”