Sen. Edward Kennedy, rest in peace

{{w|Ted Kennedy}}, Senator from Massachusetts.
U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy; wikipedia

If you are a college graduate who needed student loans to get that degree – ever more precious in an economic downturn and a competitive work environment – you should be thanking Ted Kennedy today. If you’re a female who got to play sports in schools forced to fund women’s athletics with some semblance of equity to men’s, thank Kennedy for Title IX. If you’re a person who grew up in poverty, working your tail off at minimum-wage jobs and still had too much month at the end of the money, you can thank Kennedy for his push to raise – more than once – the minimum wage. If you or your child are disabled and you’re offered decent education and a chance at work without discrimination? Kennedy and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Kennedy, who served in the Senate for 46 years, died last night at the age of 77 from complications of a brain tumor. He was a life-long Catholic. While he was involved in just about every piece of major legislation that brought a better life to the working poor, the issues closest to his heart were equal rights, health care and education – both improving it in general and improving access to higher education for people of little means. I often think of critics of Kennedy’s – the college-educated pro-life advocates who focus solely on his stance on abortion and stem-cell research – and wonder: Do they realize that their college educations, the brains they trained in university classrooms and now use to mount arguments against killing the unborn, are, in part, gifts from the late Senator? Women, minorities and the poor especially should recognize that without Kennedy’s passion for improving access to higher education for all, many would not have made it into those classrooms.

I once had the privilege of spending two days with Fr. Charles Curran while researching and reporting a story on the controversial priest. Besides discovering that he was about the nicest person I had ever met and by far and away the most humble, I found out what he thought of his critics and supporters. He said one consequence of being a lightening rod for certain issues was that people thought they knew him. Those who liked what he said tended to put him on a pedestal, and those who disliked him tended to demonize him. The truth, he said, was somewhere in the middle: He tried always to do right, but sometimes he failed.

That’s what I think about Edward Kennedy – he was a man who tried to do right, but sometimes failed. He was neither all saint or all sinner but, like all of us, a mixture of both. Still, for all his personal-life struggles, the man never failed to show up for the common man when he took to the Senate floor. He never failed to speak up for the poor and disenfranchised. (And here, to preempt comments that he failed to show up for the unborn, I contend that Kennedy looked out and saw the millions CURRENTLY living in poverty and despair and tried to relieve that suffering immediately. His work positively affected millions of the living, even if he never publicly supported the fewer millions of unborn.) Kennedy was a man born into extreme privilege who considered it his life’s calling to make life better for others. Few of us, I believe, can say the same.

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58 thoughts on “Sen. Edward Kennedy, rest in peace

      1. Ah yes, Nixon’s war. Started by Ike giving assistance to the French until they were defeated in 1954, escalated by the left’s shining knight JFK w/SF and CIA in ’61, and then REALLY escalated by Mr. Medicare, LBJ from ’65 unit he left office. Try reading some history, Nixon pulled the US out.

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    1. Funny how when you are involved in the death of a single person, you become just a criminal, yet when you are involved in the death of hundreds of thousands or millions in the pursuit of foreign policy, the public’s view of you is altogether different.   Of course, Sen. Kennedy’s behavior was indefensible in the matter.  This he has acknowledged time and time again.  But this should not negate everything he accomplished in a very remarkable life of service.

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      1. I love you leftfield and respect you more than you know, but the decision he made that one night of her death (when he may have had time to save her???) was, in my opinion, at the very least involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide.
        Despite that, people looked the other way for years and he flourished.

        How would that feel to Mary Jo’s parents, siblings, Grandparents and friends to have to see this man on TV in a position of power, going on with his very successful public life without their precious, beautiful loved one with them.

        He didn’t pay enough…..

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      2. Yes, it was terrible, he behaved as poorly as someone can and he was rescued from the punishment you or I would have received by his power and privilege.  On the scale of things, how does it compare to the murder of the Ludlow, CO strikers or the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti or the murder of millions of Vietnamese?  None of these crimes, even more dastardly, have ever been paid for and these victims also demand justice.  

        Ted Kennedy is the focus of right wing anger because he was a very effective left wing politician.  For the same reason, I focus my anger at Ronald Reagan.  To me, he was a murdering, lying, greasy haired little pissant and, like Teddy, he died at home too.  Teddy is responsible for Mary Jo’s death and RR was equally responsible for the deaths he caused.  I think if the people RR had murdered were attractive American white women whose names we knew instead of nameless brown people from Central American countries most of us couldn’t find on a map, we’d all feel differently. 

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      3. Hi lefield! I hope life is treating you well.
        Now, didn’t the Sacco and Vanzetti situation happen in Teddy Kennedy’s own state? Interesting that you’d mention it.
        Also, the Ludlow situation, which was awful, happened in the early 1900’s.
        I’m curious what that has to do with Edward Kennedy or Ronald Reagan.

        Perhaps I’m to young, but what deaths are you referring to associated with Ronald Reagan?

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      4. AZMouse,
        Your myopia on the life of Edward Kennedy would have some resonance with me if you were equally critical of the Bush’s. The larger picture is that Kennedy and his family have spent their lives and fortune giving vast amounts in the name of compassion for the poor, handicapped and working class.

        On the day of the funeral of George Bush, Jr and Sr, they will be remembered for the millions they made in the oil business using their position as head of the CIA or the millions of deaths in oil wars and the lies that made them possible. Will the Bush’s be remembered for the millions they spent to care for the poor? 

        Before we judge others, its’ always a good idea to look in the mirror and ask what we have done for our brothers and sisters other than post a few hateful notes on an obscure blog. 

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      5. JW- Hello.
        Thanks for telling me your feelings on it. I certainly never, ever want to come across as ‘hateful’, just want to give an opinion.

        As far as looking in the mirror goes, I’m very proud of all the volunteering I’ve done in my community for homeless children, abused children, and the local animal shelters. Also, besides raising my own three kids on my own (widowed young) I raised two other boys as well who lost their parents to drug abuse. I’m proud of what little help I’ve done over the years and hope it made a difference for some people. It certainly enriches my life.

        I won’t defend the Bush family. I’m not a huge fan myself. I am aware that Bush Jr. gave more to help the plight of Africa than any other president ever has.

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      6. yet when you are involved in the death of hundreds of thousands or millions in the pursuit of foreign policy…

        Oh…like the time when Kennedy led the Congress to cut off military support to the South Vietnamese government?  Support that , once denied, made it much easier for North Vietnam to overwhelm South Vietnam?

        Now I know why all those Vietnamese took to boats in the mid-70s.  I thought it was to escape a brutal regime that was murdering and enslaving them.

        Silly me!  They were trying to get to America…to thank Ted Kennedy!

        Hey…if you can abandon one innocent woman because she might cramp your style, it’s no big deal to abandon a million former allies to totalitarians…is it?

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      7. Your darn tootin’ about cutting off support for the former puppet regime in S. Vietnam.  And a tip of the hat to the NVA and the Viet Cong for chasing out the imperialists. 

        Don’t try to feed me baloney about America coming to the rescue of the Vietnamese people to save them.  The war dead and the refugees in their boats were all victims of historical colonial imperialism and the struggle between the empires of the US and the USSR.  Don, that war is over.  You and your friends have started many others in the meantime.  Time for you to move on to the next war.

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      8. Wow, Leftfield—you’re an honest-to-god fan of the Viet Cong and the NVA.  Did you cheer for Pol Pot, too?  Were the boat people just asking for it?

        Yeah, they probably were.  Those nice NVA and Khmer Rouge folks set up all these wonderful reeducation camps, and those thousands of people just up and ran away!  Ungrateful sods.

        Lefty, it might be time for you to move on from Fantasyland.  And trust me, I’d never try and serve you baloney.  There’s no way I can match the baloney you generate, day in and day out.

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      1. I guess my main point is that I cannot believe that the right wing really gives a damn about Mary Jo beyond her use as a tool to bludgeon an opponent.  The right wing is not exactly known as a caring and humanitarian bunch. 

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    1. Hi Tippy!
      Was she drunk?
      Did she try to hide it because she was cheating on her spouse?
      Did she leave the scene with him still fighting for life because she was worried about her political career and he was ‘expendable’?

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      1. By the way, how old was Mr. Kennedy when he decided to sacrifice this child for his own well being, and how old was Mrs. Bush?

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      2. Get some az! Libs luv to deride others and simplify their own mistakes as “errors in judgement, mis-spoke, but we had good intentions, etc, etc” to justify their agenda. Kennedy was a fat, murderous, drunken pig and got exactly what he had coming. God will not be mocked!  Mary Jo can finally rest in peace.

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      3. Thanks for the support. I don’t like to be confrontational, but some things really touch a nerve with me.
        Obviously, with you too, Romeo.

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  1. Can’t help but wonder what ol’ Teddy Boy will have to say to Mary Jo Kopechne, assuming he is getting his final reward in the same place as Mary Jo(Which many have cause to doubt.).

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    1. Fatman won’t be saying anything to Mary Jo because the place he went to says “abandon all Hope, Ye who enter here” while she went to be with her creator. At last the country is rid of the entire corrupt Kennedy Klan. Tubbies sister was lobotomized by old man Joe btw, an early form of Obamacare.

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  2. azmouse – google the name “El Mozote”.  Read the information available and follow the links related to the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua. 

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  3. Dear Leftfield and Romero:
    Let’s calm down, boys. No need for namecalling. I’m curious to all the commenters – did any of you get government aid to attend college? Any take out a loan? Have relatives who benefited from the ADA?
    Perhaps it is because I am a sinner, horribly human, make mistakes all the time. I don’t know if any of us know what we would do in a stressful situation until it happens. There is no excuse for what Kennedy did – and he’s confessed both publically and privately and no doubt lived with that horrible memory all his life. If none of you have had a relative assissinated, perhaps you can’t relate to the pressure that the youngest son in a storied family must have felt. Does that excuse him fleeing the scene? No. No excuses — BUT, as someone who benefited from legislation that man pushed through, from his efforts to make the world better, I’m glad he WASN’T in prison. He couldn’t have done what he did for the country. I’ve always thought it curious that Mary Jo’s family forbid an autopsy.

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  4. As I’ve said before, Don, I’m no fan of tyranny, be it in the capitalist mode or the socialist mode.  Personally, I’m very disappointed that Pol Pot was not brought to justice to pay for his crimes, just as I am disappointed Ronald Reagan was not brought to justice to pay for his crimes. 

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  5. Renee, I am the grateful recipient of school loans as well as the GI bill, both programs known to return benefits to society as a whole far in excess of their cost.  Both are also programs which, along with voting rights; the eight hour work day; women’s suffrage; integration; etc, were virulently opposed by the right wing. 

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  6. “Hi Tippy!
    Was she drunk?
    Did she try to hide it because she was cheating on her spouse?”
    I don’t know – no one does. She wasn’t tested, there is unconfirmed gossip about her relationship with the dead young man, she was given a pass because of her family position, and she has never publicly apologised or explained – unlike Teddy.
     
    But that was not my point, which you realize. My point is that I am not going to condemn her and her entire life and everything she has done based upon one sad error in her personal life.
    I find the condemnation of Teddy seen from right wing nutjobs to be just that, when you look at the entirety of his life and the service that he rendered to the country.
    Obviously most citizens feel the same way, and my flag is at half mast.
    I remember when MLK died similar hatred and condemnation ( he was cheating on his wife, etc) and people celebrating when JFK was assassinated.
    It is expected and predictable from the right, just as it is expected and predictable that they will object when someone refers to them as “haters”.
     
     

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    1. Hello again.
      I’m no ‘nutjob’ or a hater.
      Familiar with Saul Alinsky? Would you consider him hateful too?
      Do you agree with his tactics on ‘the enemy’ (conservatives):

      “Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear and retreat.”
       
      “Make the enemy live up to his/her own book of rules. You can kill them with this. They can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”
       

      “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”
       

      “The threat is generally more terrifying than the thing itself.”
       

      “In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt.”
       

      “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.”
       

      “One of the criteria for picking the target is the target’s vulnerability … the other important point in the choosing of a target is that it must be a personification, not something general and abstract.”
       

      “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.” For instance, Democrats imply conservatives are racists or that Republicans want to kill senior citizens by limiting the growth of the Medicare system, they imply Republicans want to deny kids lunch money without offering real proof. These red-herring tactics work.”
       
       

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  7. fortbuckley
    “Wow, Leftfield—you’re an honest-to-god fan of the Viet Cong and the NVA. ”
     
    I can’t speak for Left, but you sound like you would be surprised that Ho Chi Minh DOES have fans, of whom I number myself.
    He was, after all, the George Washington of his country and led his troops to throw out it’s colonial masters.
    And we were the colonial power attempting to keep the country in subjugation.
    Sadly, sometimes our country fights on the wrong side of justice and freedom, and it is not “patriotism” to support and encourage the government to do so, nor is it fair to our military.
    Something that Kennedy knew but right-wingers like Reagan and Bush never learned – so many more have died needlessly.

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  8. Not familiar with Saul Alinsky and although you seem to quote him at length, I have no idea how you relate those quotes to your attack on Senator Kennedy.

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    1. Well, you threw out words like ‘right-wing nutjobs’ and ‘haters’, which to conservatives is expected and predictable’ from the left, due to the teachings of Saul Alinsky. That’s his tactics as well.

      Look I don’t hate Ted Kennedy, or anyone else for that matter. I’m not a great debater, nor do I know everything there is to know about politics. Far from it. We all make mistakes and I’m a firm believer in everyone deserves a second chance.
      I just really found that particular crime heinous, I feel he had no regard for the worth of her life, and maybe, just maybe, for reasons of my own, I see her as yet another woman who was the victim of a man and I’m particularly sensitive towards that type of crime.

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  9. Saul Alinsky – If you haven’t heard his name yet, it’s probably because you don’t frequent right wing extremist websites.  Saul was the original community organizer from Chicago. He worked with the neighborhoods described in “The Jungle”.   He was decidely radical and wrote a book later in life called “Rules for Radicals” aimed at the New Left of the sixties.  It was a sort of guidebook on organizing at a grassroots level and definitely revolutionary and the source of many of the quotes above. 

    Saul died in 1972 at age 63.  The reason you will likely be hearing his name in the future is that Saul being a community organizer from Chicago, the right wing is hoping that this is enough of a connection with the president that Saul can be used to “rally the troops” by creating the illusion of a philosophical kindredship between Saul and Barack.

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  10. “Well, you threw out words like ‘right-wing nutjobs’ and ‘haters’, which to conservatives is expected and predictable’ from the left, due to the teachings of Saul Alinsky”
    I see – and the idea that when words like hater and nutjob are thrown out, they might be in reference to expressions of hate and have nothing to do with Mr. Alinsky ?
    However “sensitive” you may be to one occurrence in his long life, that is no excuse to overlook his many good accomplishments, or to overlook the evil committed in official government service by conservative Senators like Jesse Helms unless you subscribe to a hateful and, frankly, nutty ideology like Senator Helms.
     

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  11. “the right wing is hoping that this is enough of a connection with the president that Saul can be used to “rally the troops” by creating the illusion of a philosophical kindredship between Saul and Barack.”
    I’m not surprised – they all seem to chant the same slogans in chorus – it’s like a religion or something.

    I don’t suppose that they will stop claiming he is an uncircumcised Kenyan Muslim Marxist who hates white people and who is trying to achieve government control of the banks and healthcare and auto factories while he is community organizing ?

    No, I didn’t think so – but don’t call them haters 🙂

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    1. I don’t agree with that at all! Only the second part of your sentence:

      “trying to achieve government control of the banks and healthcare and auto factories while he is community organizing.”
      😉

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      1. If you identify as “conservative” I am quite confident that you are – it is intrinsic in the ideology.
        I’m still waiting to meet a “loving” conservative, but we all know that if one ever appeared he/she would be drummed out of the club instantly.

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  12. What do you consider ‘loving’?
    Its sad that someone even has to ask that question.
    Do you feel resentment that some other group (“illegals”, “welfare cheats”, gays, blacks….) are infringing on your life and oppose that ?
    Or, like the Good Samaritan, do you consider everyone your brother and work to support them.
    If so, you are “loving” but no conservative will agree that you are a conservative – you will be a RINO at best.
     

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    1. I know what I consider loving, but I can’t speak for what you consider loving, that’s why I asked.

      I’m not religious, I support secure borders, my best friend who  I adore is gay, as are family members I love dearly. I donate my time and money to charitable contributions, including one I started myself for homeless children in the community. I raised my three kids on my own, plus two I got legal guardianship over, and my children have a Grandfather who is African-America.

      I still consider myself a conservative.

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  13. Yes, Jesus was all in favor of “secure borders” as we all know 🙂
    I’m not questioning the “conservative”, I am questioning the “loving”.

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    1. Like I said, I’m not really religious, although historically I believe in Jesus.
      I believe in sponsorship, which my brother is currently doing for a family from Guatemala.
      Give your support, time and money for people to come to this country, and stay, live and thrive here. It’s a long term commitment to those you sponsor.
      To me, supporting illegal immigration is a band-aid. Support families to come and stay, legally.

      You do things your way, and I do them my way. I’m no more or less loving than you for it. One of my sons, who I got legal guardianship over when he was 12 after his Mother abandoned him because of her drug use, is from Mexico. Most of his extended family is in prison, and nobody in his family ever graduated from high school. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and I was so proud of him!
      as far as I’m concerned, I’m his Mom and always will be. I’ll do everything I can for him and I’m committed to help him become an American citizen.

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      1. It is a very heartwarming story, azmouse.  I’m happy that you were able to help your son overcome some serious difficulties and instill in him the importance of education.  I’m proud of him, too.

        I hope I’ll be able to say how proud I am of my daughter when she graduates tw0 years from now (knock on wood).

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      2. Hi leftfield!
        Thanks for your comment. That means allot to me.Ramone is one of two children I have had legal guardianship over. So I feel successful if only for all the success my kids are having. My birth children are Sara (23) Wesley (21) and Sebastian (16). My ‘expanded’ children are Elias (22) and Ramone (21). I have the best Mother’s Day every year! LOL

        All I can say is with a Father like you, she can’t lose.You’ve always been so nice to me, even when we TOTALLY disagree. Who can’t respect a guy like that?

        Besides being a great muse, you love chickens!

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      3. By the way, for what it’s worth, I appreciate you having an ongoing discussion with me about this. It’s nice to have someone take the time to get their point across and be willing to hear my point as well, all in a respectful manner.
        You’ve made me stop and think and respond to you sincerely.
        Thank you for that.

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  14. Ted Kennedy, for better or worse, he spent half a decade as a servant to the people who elected him.  Here is a great list of his most prominent quotes.  <A HREF=”http://tedkennedyquotes.com/” title=”Ted Kennedy Quotes” target=”_blank”>Ted Kennedy Quotes</A>

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