Why The Hate?


I noticed that Senator Ted Kennedy was noted as being too ill from brain cancer to attend the funeral of his amazing sister Eunice Shriver. My first thought when I saw this was that his being that ill probably means that he’s not doing at all well and may be on his own deathbed at this point.

My next thought was that if I’m correct then it’s a sad situation for the Kennedy family. It would also represent a final closing chapter on one of the most heralded and complex families in American history.

Unfortunately my next thought was that I knew, without any doubt, that news posts mentioning this absence would be rife with user comments of complete vitriol against Senator Kennedy for his past transgressions in life.

Just as I thought, the messages were there, with people openly calling for his death and saying totally disgusting things about their wishes for his demise. What is wrong with us as a people that it has come to this?

I have never been a Ted Kennedy hater or lover. I have always felt that his life is one that most of us couldn’t even begin to fathom. First of all, the man lives under a complete microscope beyond anything nearly anyone has experienced. The expectations placed on him none of us would want to have on our shoulders. In his circles he was expected to become President and anything short of that would represent failure. I suspect that he probably carries this feeling as well. Nothing he can do or has done would be good enough for his harshest critic—himself.

Do not get me wrong. His actions in the Mary Jo Kopechne incident allow for much questioning as to his integrity. Much is made of this being a huge mistake by a young man. He was 37 at the time so I never accepted the youth argument.

However questionable his actions, Miss Kopechne has been turned into a saint in this affair. She was 29 at the time of her death. If Ted Kennedy was intoxicated shouldn’t Miss Kopechne have seen this? Wasn’t she obligated in some way to take this into account? They were both at the same party together. What I’m saying is that it was, in the end, an accident. Accidents will happen and in this case she made a choice to get into a car with someone that may not have been able to properly handle the vehicle. We don’t know for sure.

Faced with the same exact result who among us can say, for certain, that they know how they would have reacted? Unless you have reacted differently to something similar then I doubt your veracity on the subject. It is with far too much ease that people can cast blame and suggest courses of proper action when they were not in any way involved. Ted Kennedy made bad choices that evening, and he has paid for them every day since, including in his own soul. That does not mean he should be wished dead.

We, as a people, have lost much of our ability to empathize. This political rift in our society has cost us something dear that we should be fighting to get back. It doesn’t matter that Senator Kennedy came from a family best described as one of royalty. It doesn’t matter that he had every golden opportunity in life. It doesn’t matter that he made some bad mistakes. When his time comes, as it shall for the rest of us, we must still agree that he’s just as human as we are. He still has children who love him, family that love him and many people who will feel genuine pain when he dies. Many constituents in his state and around this country are better off as a direct result of the effort he has put forth in his life.

His death will, in no way, be a good thing or a positive thing. If you feel it is then I feel most sorry for you. You are the one of little moral fiber in this situation — not Mr. Kennedy.

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