Monday, August 31, 2009

Good Guy/Bad Guy

I received an e-mail from an old friend today (no, seriously...he's old. As in 90+ years old) regarding Senator Edward Kennedy. The e-mail was filled with the usual screed about what a jerk Kennedy is...a liar, a cheat, probably a murderer, a misogynist, and a general all-around cad.

Whatever.

No, I'm serious. Whatever. I'm was no fan of Kennedy's personal life. I tend to agree that a lot of what was written in that letter was true. The Kennedys were a bunch of spoiled little rich kids that benefited from the Holy Trinity of good luck: They were rich, they were white, they were born into a family of influence in America. It doesn't get much better than that (unless you also happen to be male, in which case you can only fail if you're caught naked on the street getting a blowjob from a $2 hooker while you shoot an illegal immigrant in the head with an assault rifle and choke a dog. Even then, don't be so sure).

So why do I say, "whatever"? Because none of that mattered to Kennedy's constituents, who kept sending him to the Senate over and over and over. He might have been a cad, but he was also an effective Senator who authored or was a signatory to nearly every major piece of civil rights legislation during his tenure. He may have been a colossal jerk, but he forged partnerships across political lines in a way that simply doesn't happen any more. He may have been a drunken fool, but he was a political genius who confounded his enemies, leaving them with nothing but personal attacks to make their point in fundraising letters.

I don't hold Senator Kennedy up on some pedestal. I think that he was a product of his upbringing and his era. He was a child of privilege, and he used that status to push a political agenda that I believe he truly and sincerely felt was the right direction for his constituents and his country. He was relentless in that goal. Love him or hate him, you have to respect that.

And if you don't? Then you ought to look in the mirror, or take a hard look at your own political heroes (the wealthy child of privilege GW Bush comes to mind) and ask yourself if you've looked beyond their flaws simply because you happen to agree with them politically.

Chances are you have. Let's let Ted rest in peace. God will sort it all out in the end.

2 comments:

  1. I've been too caught up in the drama of the Billy Mays funeral to notice that anybody else had died.

    Seriously, though, I wish we could let them all go away quietly and with some dignity. Yeah, I'm looking at you, MJ.

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