Cheryl Pappas


Archive for August, 2009

Ted Kennedy

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Having studied the outpouring of response to Ted Kennedy’s death and life, I wonder if any public person’s demise in these times could be as provoking or powerful or symbolically charged as his.  The public has seemingly gathered in clumps under circus tents to both honor and trash him as a person, and more surprising to me, to bash his genius work as a senator.  Apparently, people resent his successful efforts on behalf of the poor, accusing him of using their money to pay those bills, and it seems likely that he would have fought for their right to oppose him. Unsurprisingly, his legendary alcoholic behavior has been dredged up from the national sewage system of the envious and unforgiving, where some sour Americans love to hang out. There are many things to learn about being a human being from Kennedy.  In particular, it seems to me, the one certainty that unites us all is the mercurial nature of being a person. (Who among us doesn’t have one key embarrassment that hasn’t been aired simply because we aren’t famous?)  Whatever the public verdict on this flawed, extraordinary prince from that deeply troubled, American royal family, my heart is sad.  I feel his absence from the theatre of life and politics; the empty center spot where someone really cared. If I had even a splash of Ted’s religious inclinations, I would pray that his death does not equate to the end of public intelligence; the plea for justice spoken by people who really mean from the heart what they are saying. May we have more people, like Ted Kennedy, who are able to say it with such eloquence, warmth, and charm.

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