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The Kennedy Brothers: And Then There Were None

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"My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country."
– John F. Kennedy
January 20th, 1961

The last Kennedy brother's death was announced on August 26, 2009, marking the end of an era in politics. Ted Kennedy, dead at the age of 77. Referred to as "The Lion of the Senate", his final battle wasn’t just in the Senate; it was also against a year-long struggle with brain cancer.

In the days following, I observed history unfolding; the motorcade escort on August 27, from Hyannisport to the Boston library, where thousands of mourners were lined to view the passing hearse and capture this moment in time. I was privy to (due to cable TV of course) the August 29 ceremony given at the Kennedy Library where 13 of his friends, colleagues and family members shared heartfelt and even humorous memories of their Teddy.

These past few days I have watched documentaries about this captivating and incredible family, the Kennedys; Headliners and Legends, with Lestor Holt, The Kennedy Brothers, narrated by Chris Matthews, and the most compelling: the HBO documentary, Teddy in His Own Words.

When my parents were young toddlers, Joseph Kennedy Jr., the eldest in a family of nine, was the first to lose his life.  He died in the military, fighting in WWII, on August 12, 1944 at the very young age of 29. I was only one year old when our 35th President, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated at the young age of 46, riding in his limousine beside his wife Jacqueline, on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas . And I was six when Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was only 42, was assassinated on June 5, 1968 in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

Today I am 47, with a love for history and a fascination with politics, and was able to view the funeral mass for the final Kennedy brother who, unlike his siblings, was given the gift of a long life, coupled with the responsibility that follows. The mass celebrating Ted Kennedy's life was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and aired for all Americans to see. With so many family and friends paying their respects and saying their good-byes, I was not only taken back to my Catholic roots, I was left emotional, shedding a few tears because Ted Kennedy was first a son, a brother, a husband, father and an uncle. In the pews sat our current President, Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, as well as three former presidents: George Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, along with other political figures from both sides of the aisle, which brought me to the conclusion that this was a somber day in politics and American history – a day I will remember forever.

The Kennedy brothers may have been the “soul of the Democratic Party”, but for all Americans they represented so much more, even for a Republican like me. However you decide to judge the Kennedy brothers, there is no disputing these four men epitomized the words of one of their own–President J.F.K.  They didn't "ask what their country could do for them…they did for their country”– our country.

The Kennedy brothers took to heart their true role in politics, that of public servant, something lacking in most of our politicians today. They were dedicated to leaving the world better than they found it. Whatever drove them, whether it was their faith, their family or the good part of human nature, they demonstrated that they truly cared for humanity, the poor and the downtrodden, because they were willing to do (and did) something about it no matter the cost, and not just in the political realm, but in their personal lives as well.

In my heart and mind I ponder these questions. What would America (and the world for that matter) have been like without the Kennedy brothers? With no Kennedy brothers left, what will it be like now? And will another Kennedy arise out of the ashes to claim another day and time in politics, influencing our hearts and minds and impacting history as they did?

As the last Kennedy brother is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, a country mourns the man and the end of a political era, but their legacy will live forever. Today I am not a critic, just another mourner.

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About Christine Lakatos

  • Ray Phillips

    Nice article – for a Republican (=: I’ve been following you on FB for some time and appreciate your philosophies about life. Keep up the good work.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Thanks Ray, see you on FB!

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Beautiful, beautiful piece, Christine. I’ve savored every moment, been to the Library and took in all the coverage last night and today. It is a somber day. It’s also a day for realization and recognition in the power of redemption.

    Though the lion’s roar will never be heard in those Senate chambers again, we who remain behind are charged to take that challenge and collectively roar regardless of political persuasion.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Thanks Silas, and yes, we have lots of work to do and hopefully some decent Senators, from both sides, will help us! LOL

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    If anything positive can come from Kennedy’s death, I would hope to see a less contentious, bi-partisan spirit take hold in the Senate. The reason even Ted’s fiercest opponents respected and admired him is because he was one of the last of that old guard who understood the art of compromise and knew how to use it to great and effective means.

    It’s probably wishful thinking, but it would sure be nice to see less of the partisan bickering and more co-operation from both sides of the aisle. Personally, I think getting some form of health care reform passed would be really nice too, but right now I’m not holding my breath.

    -Glen

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Oh, and I forgot to say, really nice article Christine. You strike me as a Republican I might actually get along with (as I did with Nalle a few years ago when I met him).

    -Glen

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Glen, thanks and I hope to get to know you here on BC.

    “The reason even Ted’s fiercest opponents respected and admired him is because he was one of the last of that old guard who understood the art of compromise and knew how to use it to great and effective means.” … Couldn’t of said it better!!

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I’m sure we’ll get to know each other better as time goes on here at BC. Just remember, no matter what you hear, the rumors aren’t true…LOL…

    -Glen

  • http://www.ItsSoMeTv.com Alie James

    Christine’s point about statesmen is such a reminder about how far we’ve come since 1963. I do believe that being selfless in service is one of the greatest gifts one can give away. Just think about this – there are Alphas and wanna be Alphas (take a look at the leaders in your life). True, “authentic” Alphas want to make sure their pack survives, not the other way around.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

    Yeah those are truly the words of a bipartisan statesman.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Hey Arch, I am assuming this is a quote from Kennedy?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I figured Arch or someone would bring in some contention to this thread. Yes, that certainly IS a Kennedy quote made during Bork’s confirmation hearings. It had nothing to do with bi-partisanship. It was simply an accurate characterization of a man who was by any measure unfit for ascendancy to the Supreme Court.

    Kennedy was perhaps the best at working effectively across the aisle. That, though, is not to say that he shrank from his convictions when the going got tough.

    No family in American history accomplished more in the way of public service AND suffered so much personal tragedy than has the Kennedy’s. I would think that the heartfelt testimonials of family, friends, and most pointedly Ted’s Senate colleagues – both Democrats AND Republicans – would suffice to prove to anyone that Ted Kennedy was an extraordinary legislator and perhaps an even more extraordinary human being.

    He was far from perfect. He suffered a number of very public failings; failings that likely prevented his own ascendancy to the White House. But, with time, he overcame them, took on the mantle of family patriarch for a family desparately in need of one, carried the load of true and abiding friendship for perhaps dozens if not hundreds of people, and became the unprecedented leader of the Senate. Not bad, I’d say.

    Christine, I too offer you kudos for a nice article.

    B

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Robert Bork didn’t deserve to be a member of the Supreme Court. The problem is that ultra conservatives don’t believe in compromise and moderation. They are driven by greed, a lust for power, throwing women back into the kitchen, segregated water fountains and that Jesus Christ is the only conduit to the Supreme Being.

    As the ultra right basks in the glow of Ted Kennedy’s death I caution them. Be not too gleeful. Be afraid. For in the death of the Lion, a sleeping giant may wake and shake the very quicksand you all stand upon.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Thanks Baritone:
    I kind of thought some of my fellow Republicans would take a swipe at this. My thought was to praise the good of the Kennedy’s and their drive “to make a difference”.

    Despite their publically known character flaws and controversies, the Kennedy’s did a lot of good for our country. Even if you disagree with their political ideology, (Liberal, which most, not all, I personally disagree with), at least they stood up and did their part.

  • Clavos

    I suspect that most of the Conservatives/Libertarians have stayed away from this thread out of respect for the dead.

    It is worth noting that afterward, Kennedy himself agreed with those who described his rant about Bork, quoted above by Arch, as “intemperate.”

    And it was.

    But it’s also worth noting that he (Kennedy) reached across the aisle more often than most.

    And that’s a better legacy than most politicians, of whatever stripe, will earn.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Clavos, great insight to all three points!

  • Baronius

    “As the ultra right basks…”

    I beg your pardon? We (I assume you’d put me in that category) have been respectful. No gun-toting hate mobs that I’ve heard about (and if there were, they would have made the news).

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Keep in mind my fellow readers…there are a few reasons I decided to wrap my article around the “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” part of JFK’s Inaugural Address.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Actually, Baronius, I don’t put you in that category at all. I have seen comments by some on the far right which are beyond the pale. These three days have been a walk down memory lane and it’s become apparent that this is more than about the obituary of Ted Kennedy.

    Look at far we’ve come in the last 50 years. As the 60’s began, it was inconceivable that a woman like Hillary Clinton could rise through the ranks and be a viable Presidential candidate. Even segregation stalwarts changed completely like the late Strom Thurman and Robert Byrd. The Supreme Court has seen women, African Americans and now a Latina. The United States Senate is no longer an old boy’s club. And, of course, we have an African American President. One cannot celebrate these advances without crediting Senator Kennedy for his mission to bridge the racial and gender divides.

    And like Ted Kennedy, these issues are freshly buried. Slowly they will rot and become dust. In the meantime, it’s a process. On paper, we’ve bridged many a gap, but in our hearts it is a much different matter. It may take two or three generations before these divides finally turn to dust. That’s the way we are in America. We whine a lot before we change.

  • Baronius

    Silas, I hoped for a week of civility. Here you are apparently accusing Kennedy’s critics of racism. Was his life story so spotless that critics must have bad motives? And even if that were the case, how does your accusation elevate the tone?

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    No, not ALL of Kennedy’s critics. But in the grand scheme of things, Baronius, I think we could agree that racism is still prevalent in pockets of this nation. And it is from that perspective where I think some of the hatred for him is generated. Look, he screwed up royally, there’s no doubt about it. Does this mean that we can’t recognize redemption on the surface? Have we become so cynical that we no longer believe redemption is possible?

    There are so many preconceived notions about whites vs. blacks vs. whatever. Sometimes it takes generations to break away from these rivalries. It’s analogous to the Armenian vs. Turk situation. Many Armenians continue to want reparations for the Armenian Genocide. While on the surface they have a point the bottom line is does it really make a difference after all these years? Can we not move on from these differences and find common ground?

    One constituent remarked on local TV this week that she didn’t know what the members of the Senate would do without Teddy. My first inkling was, “do their damned job that they were elected to do!” Perhaps, in retrospect, we will come to look at Kennedy’s 47 years as more of a disservice to American politics. Sure, he was great at building bridges and hammering out compromise. But in being so energetic about it he may have made the remainder of his Democratic caucus complacent and now they are faced with the prospect of figuring things out for themselves. What say you, Baronius?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Oh, I hardly think that anyone could characterize Kennedy’s years in the Senate a disservice. If the remaining and future Dems are not up to the task of carrying the gauntlet passed to them from Kennedy then shame on them.

    As I recall, Kennedy did voice some regret for his bald assertions against Bork, but only from the standpoint that given the circumstances it was rather over the top, but that the statement was, nevertheless true to his feelings regarding Bork.

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Disservice but only from the standpoint of those who are mediocre and lack the backbone.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    BTW, Christine – great article, especially for a self-billed Republican. Now, the next item on the agenda, repeat after me: drop that term from your self-description. You’re an American and a caring human being first, never mind the rest.

    You’ll see that once you do that, you’ll have a long way . . .

  • Baronius

    I don’t agree. I don’t think there’s a discriminatory ism of any consequence left in this country. I’m sure there’s some ugly stuff buried in people’s hearts, but it has no credibility any more. Simply put, no one in America is racist because they think it’s the moral high ground, and it’s tough for something to bounce back from that. The one place you find racism, in the condescending paternalism of the Democratic Party, is the one place where people think they’re being noble.

    (The exception: don’t ever, ever, ever think that a society has moved past anti-Semitism.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    How then do you explain the hatred against the Kennedys? Is it simply jealousy or envy? Or perhaps the fact that some are unforgiving of their personal missteps? Because Teddy was pro-abortion? His liberal political agenda?

    Are these sufficient to explain hatred?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Roger, yes, American first but for the purpose of the article it made sense to state my political position. Not sure what you mean…long way…..where am I going?

    Baronius: must agree with you, racism in America is gone for the most part, however there still exists quite a few ugly disgusting racists, and thank God they have no credibility.

    I see it mostly in the Media with people like Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and that Ed guy (MSNBC), along with celebs like Janeane Garofalo (if that what she is), who are constantly calling anyone that disagrees with Obama a racist. I wonder how they label Micheal Steel? They are actually causing more divide in our country and setting us back instead of embracing peace to move us forward.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I thought you would fill in the blanks, Christine, but never mind.

    My point really is that your personal identity should not be defined by the silly little divisions we employ in political discourse. I’m certain you’re a far more complex person than to be reduced to whatever party platform. That’s all.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Roger: All Good! And, yes, very complex, more than most! LOL

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mind you, I didn’t say complicated.

    As to the blanks, remember the old Virginia Slim commercial?

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Interesting points, Roger, to which I respond:

    How then do you explain the hatred against the Kennedys? Is it simply jealousy or envy?

    There’s a level of jealousy. Though they are Irish, there are those Irish who find the Kennedy’s “uppity” Irish and resent them for their successes. I think, however, that this segment is a small percentage.

    Or perhaps the fact that some are unforgiving of their personal missteps?

    Unforgiving is another factor. Especially amongst the Irish. My own great-grandmother never spoke to her youngest sister after she married a Protestant. And what’s amazing is that the sister she shunned went on to have a very successful life with her husband. But back to the unforgiven… sure we tend to be a very unforgiving lot, unless, of course, there’s something in it for us. Then we’re as forgiving as can be.

    Because Teddy was pro-abortion?

    Absolutely, that plays into it. Pro-abortion and pro gay rights. I really don’t think Teddy was “pro” abortion inasmuch as he recognized that there were circumstances where abortion is sometimes the only alternative. It’s a tough issue, Roger. I get that. I’m not “pro abortion” either but I don’t feel I have the right to impose my opinion on a woman. It’s a very personal decision and most times gut wrenching. I don’t want to add to her misery, plain and simple.

    His liberal political agenda?

    That’s a major factor but I’m beginning to think that we’ve been mislead all these years about just how “liberal” he really was. Seems to me he was more compromising than we’ve ever been made aware.

    Are these sufficient to explain hatred?

    Actually, what specifically IS sufficient to explain hatred?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s the rock bottom question, Silas. You got it.

  • Baronius

    Christine, I can’t imagine a better test for the claim of racism than this past election. We had people, nationwide, go into a booth and make a decision that could have been influenced by race. Quite a few people on the left predicted that the outcome would be influenced by America’s underlying racism. This was as close to a testable hypothesis as you could hope for, and the lefties were wrong.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Baronius,

    >i>”…no one in America is racist because they think it’s the moral high ground”

    Really! I wonder if Klanners, neo-Nazis and the like have gotten the memo? How about the so called “birthers,” and those people at recent town hall meetings decrying that they “want their country back.” What about Rep. Lynn Jenkins claiming the Republicans need to find their “great white hope?”

    You have long claimed that racism is no longer an issue in this country. I believe you to be wrong, and so do, I am sure, a large number of African Americans and other minorities, including Jews.

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I thought he was elected on the H&C slogan – in which case the present healthcare program on the table should come as no surprise. But apparently, since the majority of Americans are opposed to Obamacare, it goes to show that he was elected, by the majority, despite H&C slogan, because they really liked him.

    So now, since the majority of Americans oppose Obamacare, it goes to show that they were foolish to vote for Obama just for his good looks and oratorical skills, disbelieving all the time the H&C slogan. So no, they weren’t racists, the majority of Americans, that is, but they were fools.

    I suppose the above clarifies Baronius’s testable hypothesis beyond any doubt.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Well, the civility of this discussion is edging toward the same old crap. You right wingers have convinced yourselves of the myth that only lefties are racist – that all you righties are pure as the driven snow, all embracing. I suppose it helps you sleep at night. You are either naive, misinformed or just liars. Take your pick.

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #34,

    It’s simply a matter of projection: see no evil, hear no evil.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And it’s being done from the higher moral ground.

  • STM

    Bear in mind that I’m not American, but I can remember my mother holding hands with my father and crying in front of the television at the news of John F. Kennedy’s assasination, and her distress a few years later at the killing of Bobby Kennedy.

    And then her disbelief at the events of Chappaquiddick. I won’t speak ill of the recently dead not least because they can’t defend themselves, but the handling of it by the authorities was as much of a scandal for Americans as was the “incident” itself.

    Ted Kennedy might have been a good lawmaker and a pragmatist who could get things done in Congress and Americans might have been the beneficiaries of that in recent decades, but nothing could ever erase that backdrop in the minds of many both in the US and around the world.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Racism is really too specific of a word to be used in this case. Sure, there’s racism. There’s also homophobia, culturalism, religionism, nationalism, sadism, masochism, protectionism and even genderism. I wish I had a word which would encompass all of the above because it might help folks put this whole thing into perspective. It’s really fear and misunderstanding in reaching out trying to understand the other point of view. Some may not like Obama because he looks too Black. Others may not like him because they feel he really is too inexperienced. But when they profess that belief, they’re branded a racist by those on the left. The bottom line is Barack Obama is the President. He was elected in a fair election, born of a white woman, within these United States. His father happened to be a Kenyan Muslim. Big deal. What’s most important is that Barack Obama is an American and has been entrusted with the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Baronius, you don’t really believe that the only place you find racism is on the Left, do you? Seriously?

    And to say there are no “isms” left either? Wow, you really do have rose-coloured (hell, maybe even rose-flavoured) glasses on!

    BTW, Christine, nice article here. Always enjoy your work, even when I disagree.

  • Jordan Richardson

    racism in America is gone for the most part

    Oh. You believe that too. Interesting that America has become the first country on the entire planet throughout all of world history to eradicate racism. Well done! Please, teach the rest of us so that we may learn from your Greatness!

    however there still exists quite a few ugly disgusting racists

    But…but…

    I thought racism was gone!

    and thank God they have no credibility

    Credibility according to whom, exactly? Whether or not racism is “credible” is far from the issue. The issue is that it exists, that it harms people and cultures to this day, and that people still think that way throughout the United States from the blue states to the red states to the purple states and to the green states.

    Whether or not those people are credible is irrelevant. They were NEVER credible. Ever. Their credibility has nothing to do with whether or not racism is still real, whether it still exists, or whether it’s still a problem because (surprise!) it is, it does, and it probably always will be.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great last point, Jordan, about credibility. It’s not credibility that’s the problem but the fact that it infects the social body.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Silas,

    I see you walked away from this question when I asked it on your article. You can do that if you wish, but I’m allowed to dog you with it also. So I will.

    I’ve left politics out of this. Just as you have. For many years I admired many positions that the late Senator took – years that you were a Reagan (or Goldwater) Republican when you may not have necessarily had the same admiration. And all of us are entitled to a chance to redeem ourselves, to a second chance when we do something wrong. And in many respects, Senator Kennedy’s life was an attempt at redemption. We agree firmly on these two points. After all, Silas, I lived on the streets for a year after failing law school and fucking up a marriage. So, far be it from me to say that a man does not deserve a second chance in life.

    That is not my question at all. Read it again. Ought he have been allowed to sit in the Senate after what happened at Chappaquiddick? Others who have done far less have suffered far more at the alleged hands of “justice”.

    The late Senator could have attempted the redemption you talk of without his Senate seat. His second chance was the privilege of not sitting in jail for negligent homicide or manslaughter, Silas.

    But did he deserve the trust of the people of Massachusetts in 1969? That is a whole different question, a question of a different magnitude. You know as well as I that it was only the Kennedy name that kept this man in the Senate. Had his name been Spitzer, Connally or Powell, he would have been ridden out of their on a rail and lost his seat – AS HE DESERVED.

    Kennedy was a coward in two respects, Silas. First of all, he covered up what he did or didn’t do regarding the young woman who died. And second of all, having done that, he did not resign his seat in the Senate.

    Think on it, Silas.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Jordaon #42, most as in not ALL, we’ve come along way against racism, don’t you think? But then again who really knows how far.

    As far as “credibility”, nobody is implying that it is not infectious to the “social body” (like Roger states well), but the fact that when racism is exposed, it is seen for what it is…evil.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    I’m sorry if you feel I glossed over your question, Ruvy, and I’ll answer it now. Should Ted Kennedy have resigned? Yes. Did he get off too easily? Yes. Does it do any good to bring it up now and debate the point? Yes.

    Ruvy, I’m not going to dispute that there is much we don’t know about that tragedy. The bottom line is that Kennedy did not resign. The voters of the Commonwealth returned him to office and if they felt strongly that Ted should have received a harsher punishment, he would not have been returned. No doubt that the Kennedy political machine worked tirelessly to get him re-elected. But the voters of Massachusetts have been intimately aware of how hard he and his staff worked to respond to constituent needs. I’ve been around politics for 4 decades and I can say, without a doubt, that the Kennedy staff was the most responsive legislative staff in Washington.

    I think what’s important to look at here is that Ted Kennedy’s personal tragedies set the foundation for the work he did in the Senate. He was a man who believed in redemption. As do I. I’m a walking, talking example of a man who is in the redemptive process. There are times when much good can come out of tragedy. And I think history will look upon Ted Kennedy’s weaknesses as an integral part of the legislator he turned out to be. Was he a coward? Yes, he was in the way he handled the accident. But here is where I think we may differ. While he was a coward in handling his personal disaster, he was NOT a coward when it came to advocating for those who have no advocate. Was the loss of a young woman’s life too high a price for what he achieved? To be perfectly honest, Ruvy, I just don’t know.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Should Ted Kennedy have resigned? Yes. Did he get off too easily? Yes….. Was the loss of a young woman’s life too high a price for what he achieved? To be perfectly honest, Ruvy, I just don’t know.

    Frankly, Silas, that is all I really wanted to see you say. The accomplishments of Edward Kennedy and his brothers will be left to history to judge. I certainly will not pretend to attempt to do so. I just do not know enough to even make the attempt.

  • Baronius

    “Whether or not those people are credible is irrelevant.”

    Jordan, that’s probably our main point of disagreement. If a point of view is accepted as legitimate, it’s going to carry more weight. That’s why there was all the hubbub about the British National Party picking up two seats in the recent election. It gives racism an air of respectibility.

    Fifty years ago, a hotel could refuse to book Sammy Davis Jr. without shame. They thought that they were right. That’s huge. Don’t underestimate it.

    On a different subject: take a look divorce rates before and after the 1960’s. Clearly there was a change in societal norms. Something that had once been unacceptable has lost its disrespectability. When norms shift, they affect a lot of people. But aren’t norms simply the sum of all persons’ opinions? Yes and no. We influence society; society influences us.

    BTW, none of this is intended as an insult against Canada. I imagine that your culture has largely eliminated racism too. Don’t discount the inluence of the screen that you’re currently staring at. You and I were communicating for quite a while before I discovered that you’re a guy. That’s got to whittle away at -isms over time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t think anyone’s undermining your point about credibility, Baronius, although the form of my #43 may appear to have done so. But to agree with you here isn’t to say that the problem of racism has been eliminated.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Somewhere back in the BC archives, probably now covered with dust, is an article I wrote about Bobby Kennedy that coincided with the release of the film “Bobby.”

    The Chappaquiddick incident was certainly not one of Ted’s better moments. While some people use that as if it was a branding iron against him, I feel that Ted had to live with it for the remainder of his life. Only he knew the depth of his guilt in the matter. No, he didn’t “do time” as some feel he should have. Maybe yes, maybe no. I won’t argue the point. But he was obliged to carry the burden of it in his mind and heart.

    I believe, though, that he overcame that and other missteps in his life and certainly in his last couple of decades moved well beyond them in his accomplishments both as a legislator and as the Kennedy family patriarch. For those he reviled him througout his life, I feel pitty for you. What a shitty and wasteful way to think and live.

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Here’s the link, B-man, your first BC article in fact.

    Do I get a thank you?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Hate is stronger than love. Human condition.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Ah, but what is the opposite of love, Roger? Most say it is hate. I say it is indifference.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Good job Rog!

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re right. It takes character and determination to hate. Most people aren’t cut this way. So yes, indifference is it.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    What about when ignorance fuels the hate? Ah, but to really be an ignorant hater you have to be determined. I answered my own question.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re too fast. Ignorance breeds insecurity and fear of the new or different. The root of hatred, although this may not be exhaustive.

    But then again, you could argue that insecurity breed ignorance. It’s a two-way relationship.

    Either way, hatred appears to be the result, the mindset that ensues. Consequently, “an ignorant hater” is redundant. QED.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    That was profound, Roger. Is this your quote? If so, you should throw it on T-shirts and bumper stickers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t forget I live in KY, a redneck country. Do you want me to get lynched?

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Who do you think you are? Clarence Thomas?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Is he the repository of wisdom? I thought it was Socrates.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Is it not ironic that “KY” is the abbreviation for a redneck state AND a staple item in many alternative households? Ah, poetic justice.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s not so bad, actually. I’ve been hanging around at their only Starbucks lately, and ran across more or less independent minds. In the Christian County, of all places.

    So yes, I’m spreading the gospel in my small, insignificant way. Who knows when the seed will take root?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Very interesting conversation Silas and Roger!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank you, Christine. Actually, I haven’t accounted for indifference, and it’s the most common root of “evil.” I think we just grow into it, by losing sense of what’s important in our lives; and so, eventually we became callous, because our own life doesn’t mean a damn.

    Don’t you think so?

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Thanks, Christine. Don’t you agree that “an ignorant hater” is redundant. is a GREAT saying? I just love it when ROger sows his seeds of wisdom.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank you, Silas, but I don’t need the reputation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And by the way, the correct term is “rogerisms.”

  • Baronius

    It’s a catchy saying, but it’s completely wrong. People hate what they understand the most. People hate the guy in the next cubicle more than they hate some distant Muslim terrorist. People hate their family members and their next door neighbors. Most conflicts of race or class aren’t between people on opposite ends of the ladder; they’re conflicts with the group one step above. If a crime scene indicates rage, that usually means that the killer knew the victim. Arguably, the person each of us knows the best is oneself, and self-hatred may be the most common hatred of all.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Two kinds of hatred, Baronius – directed at one particular person, the enemy, and a blind one. I was speaking of the latter.

  • Baronius

    That doesn’t wash. All your saying would mean is that there are two kinds of hatred, blind and not-blind, and blind hatred is blind. But even on those terms, it doesn’t work, because I doubt you’d accept the idea that hatred of an individual enemy isn’t blind. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Hatred of a group enemy can be blind or not-blind, as well.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Homophobia is an example of what I mean by “blind” – not directed at any particular individual, in the concrete, but bred out of ignorance. You play on words with the term of “blind” obscures a real distinction. And if you underestimate the power of ignorance, then I have nothing to add.

  • Baronius

    Roger, I was trying to avoid wordplay. Do you mean “blind” as unfocused and generalized, or “blind” as ignorant?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t mean blind like in “white fury.” I mean “generalized,” there being no specific, concrete target in mind.

    A phobia is a good example.