Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yield


Perhaps there are no better words to eulogize Ted Kennedy than those he used to eulogize his own brother Bobby in 1968. It is a brilliant speech that builds to these famous lines:

"My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it."

There was a time when we all thought that that speech would be all Teddy would be remembered for.

Poor Teddy. Teddy the baby brother, the fat one, the fuck up. Teddy who came too late to benefit from the press's reluctance to air the soiled skivvies of the Kennedys. But in the end, Teddy reformed himself and became the best thing he could have become: a wealthy man who fought against his own interests and for the benefit of those less privileged than he.

It is a shame that he died without passing health care reform. If all those senators on the other side of the aisle who have occupied themselves today with expressing their affection for their old nemesis, the Lion of the Senate, would only consider how they might more appropriately honor him.

I know that they don't want to pass a bill that would be viewed as a Democratic success story. Social Security and Medicare were both passed by Democrats, and are two of the most popular, ahem, socialist programs in the history of that legislative body. The Republicans don't want a repeat of those victories, plain and simple. And if you think their obstruction of reform amounts to much more than that, then I have a little bridge in Chappaquiddick I'd like to sell you.

But those distinguished senators should consider that instead of obstructing an acheivement that will save thousands of American lives, and impove millions more, they might instead reflect upon some lesser known words of the Lion:

"Surely we can learn to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us, and become in our own hearts, brothers and countrymen once again...Moral courage is a greater commodity than bravery in battle, or great intelligence. Yet is is the one essential vital quality for those who seek to change the world that yields most painfully to change."

14 comments:

GETkristiLOVE said...

Didn't you dress up as Ted Kennedy in Chicago one year for Halloween? Too bad there's no picture of that.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Yeah, I did. That was during the trial of Teddy's nephew, in which it became known that Teddy was trying to seduce one of the girls at the house that night, and was walking around pantsless.

I had short hair then, so I sprayed it gray, and had reading glasses, a nice button down shirt and a tie, no pants, boxers, black socks with garters and dress shoes. Also a subpeona from Dade County sticking out of my shirt pocket.

Yes, that was back when Teddy was good for a laugh and perhaps not much more.

Zoe Wiseman said...

yep

Dad E said...

I often wondered what it would be like to grow up the youngest male in the Kennedy clan--the call to duty, the struggle for identity, the numerous temptations, an alcholic wife, family obligations, tragities right and left, etc.

Somewhere a deep and rich compassion was developed that was skillfully transfered into action, and that is what I will remember most about Edward (Teddy) Kennedy.

Red said...

This is something most of you wouldn't know in this anonymous place, but my surname is Kennedy.I actually met "Uncle Teddy" (as I jokingly refer to him; I'm not one of _those_ Kennedys) during the 2004 campaign.

He was a great public servant and will be missed. I hope to heaven health care reform can pass even without his help in this world, but I probably believe more than most people around here that maybe he can whisper in some of his erstwhile colleagues ears from the next.

SkylersDad said...

Wouldn't it be nice if the words in your final paragraph would ring true?

Somehow, with this group of misfit toys that govern us, I think we may not see the day.

Larry Jones said...

A true public servant. He didn't have to do anything with his life if he didn't feel like it, but as one of his aides said, his "dirty little secret" for getting things done in the Senate was he worked like a dog.

Goodbye Senator, goodbye at last to Camelot.

Bubs said...

Brilliant post Vikki.

kittens not kids said...

fantastic. i was thinking today about how remarkable it really is, that Ted Kennedy is (in my mind) such a fighter for the working-class, the remarkably unprivileged - while himself being from perhaps THE single most privileged American family ever. As you say: he didn't have to do a thing. but he worked his ass of to get things done while maintaining some pretty fantastic ideals and values.

and you cannot say that about too many members of congress these days.

Doc said...

"Moral courage is a greater commodity than bravery in battle, or great intelligence"

Amen.

Doc

dguzman said...

A nice tribute to a great man.

Before Hillary took the State job, I was kinda hoping she would become the female Teddy Kennedy (hopefully with pants, though) in the Senate, then maybe moving up to the Supreme Court some day. I wonder who will take his spot?

Anonymous said...

You would not believe the horrible eulogies that Ted Kennedy is getting from the Rightwing Anti-Catholic blogs. Here is one of them:

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/08/recently-man-in-high-power-passed-away.html

Anonymous said...

Teddy was nothing more than a scumbag wearing a tie.

You fucking idiots who believe he is some person who fights for the common man, you need to have your head examined.

He increased immigration in 1965, which led to the demise and fall of a city like Lawrence, Massachusetts. I dare any person to go through Lawrence late at night. And by the way, there were a lot of well known established restaurants and businesses in Lawrence that had to leave because they either were getting robbed or they didn't meet the current demographic!

Thanks for destroying a great city like Lawrence, you scumbag!!! Fuck you Teddy.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Anonymous #2 - And thank you for being an uninformed racist. The immigration bill you speak of did not increase immigration per se, but it did remove the preferences we had in place for European (read white) immigrants. Since you're anonymous, I can't speculate what year your family arrived in America, but you might want to look into it yourself to see what crimes your ancestors had to take the blame for.

And then go fuck yourself.