Thursday, August 27, 2009

While America Sleeps...In Death, Ted Kennedy's Dream Is Realized

Unless you live under a rock, you now know that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has died. Yep, Ted Kennedy has gone to that great open bar in the sky.

His passing brings many things to mind for me. Not the tragedy involving Mary Jo Kopechne. Not the flaws in his personal life. Not the bitter and sorrowful thread that weaved its way through his family.

After experiencing sadness upon the knowledge of his death on a personal, and human level, I was struck by something that my ex said.

I called the house Wednesday morning to talk to Ryno, and while waiting for him to pick up the phone I asked his mom if she had heard about Ted Kennedy.

She told me yes and that it was sad, and then went on to say something that somewhat surprised me.

She said, “What will we do now? I mean, all of the great ones are passing away and we have to rely on the current and next generation of politicians? God help us.”

Allow me to put her comment in context. The statement is coming from a person who is hardly a Liberal. Hell, she voted for McCain, and if anything, she is center right…a moderate at most.

Upon hearing her say that, my head cocked, my eyebrows peaked, and for a second, my mind went blank. I couldn’t answer her question. But her statement did proffer more questions…and thoughts.

Why, outside of the Kopechne death, was he hated and loved with such fervor? It finally dawned on me. He was a tireless, tenacious, legislator who clung to, and pushed forward his ideas of what the country should be.

He had a major hand in the writing and passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, COBRA, Title IX, The ADA, No Child Left Behind, and of course, had been doggedly promoting Health Care for all for decades.

Kennedy was both loved and hated because he was continually offering up change. When legislation is proposed that may alter the lives of Americans, love and hate for the idea grows quickly and exponentially. But…

Unlike most Americans, Sen. Kennedy never shied away from his ideals or feared changed. He was proud of what he thought, and he passionately championed each cause and more importantly each person in which he believed.

He…was…a…statesman. And as I look to the House and Senate today, I don’t know of anyone who has enough passion or gravitas to carry Kennedy’s bucket full of scotch laced piss. Sad.

I’m not saying that I want someone with whom I agree to follow the ideology of Kennedy.


I am trying to find someone who demonstrates leadership…a legislator who is unafraid of speaking loudly and strongly…A legislator who still has a fire in his or her belly.

Where is the next Henry Clay? The next Daniel Webster? The next Robert LaFollette and yes, the next Edward Kennedy?

I don’t see it coming from the Senators or House members who currently hold office. Hell, other than your own Senators and a handful of others, can you name the U.S. Senators? Only a few can, and you know why?

They don’t do anything outstanding or push the envelope of thought, oratory, and legislation to the edge.

Instead, our Senators and even more so our congressmen and women are more concerned about introducing bills concerning flag burning, defining what marriage is, and asking for an official resolution of apology because someone they know got their feelings hurt.

Fuck em…

Of course, their inane inertia is not entirely their fault. The issues I mentioned are exactly what riles up their constituents, their poll numbers, and more importantly their donors.

We are as much to blame for having no giants among men in our Congress. We don’t want giants. We are quite happy with like-mindedness and mediocrity. It makes us feel safe.

People like Ted Kennedy and others, who dare to challenge our values, ideas, and put an itch onto the left ass cheek of our comfort zone are unwelcome.

I feel sorry for us, but I am happy for Sen. Kennedy. Finally, after his years of struggle, toil, and effort, he is at peace.

He dwells in a place where social equality is the rule, no mouths go unfed, and there is health care for all.

In death, his dream did not die with him…It was realized.

Cheers!!

61 comments:

Starrlight said...

Our politicians are concerned with doing as little as possible to avoid pissing any of their constituents off. I highly doubt the vast majority of them give a shit about anything other than the title and the perks. God fucking forbid they do what they think is right or push for changes. Fucking pussies.

Starrlight said...

Dom Dunne died today as well, btw. The sad thing is that Boomers and Xers and those frightening little Y's all seem to have one thing in common. Apathy.

Matt-Man said...

Starr: Indeed, and you summed it up well. They are vanilla coated pussies. No Strawberry, No Chocolate, just the same go along get along blandness that helps them to raise money. Cheers!!

Matt-Man said...

Starr: Yeah I heard that he died, andyou are right...apathy is the most harmful narcotic known to man. Cheers!!

Starrlight said...

Yuppers it is.

Desert Rat said...

By golly, I actually WAS under a rock, today (seriously). Thank Gawd for the Matt-Man to keep me up to date on what REALLY matters!

You know, I'm gonna miss Ted.

David said...

This has been a day of mixed emotions for me, mostly very sad. He certainly had shameful times in his life - especially when younger. But more importantly he had times of glory in the Senate. He championed the rights of the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the unfortunate, the underprivileged. He came from undisputable wealth but he strongly identified with those less fortunate and their struggles. I think he is the greatest of all the Kennedy sons. Not for his youth but for his full life’s work. JFK and RFK were lost in their youth so their impact was crushed in it’s prime.

Sadly, I am hard pressed to find anyone his equal in either house of congress. I hope they appear but I suspect that is an unfortunate sign of the times. If not for the Massachusetts worship of all things Kennedy, I doubt he would have served so many years in the senate. The naysayers would have destroyed his campaigns based on Kopechne if nothing else. The age of instant media coverage and hype and torid partiality for irrational issues….that requires exhausting blather for coaching some adoring constituent consumption.

Mere mortals are highly unlikely to arrive on the world stage without dreadful baggage but few can overcome the baggage with such honor, humility and aplomb.

Jay said...

The people in the senate and congress are nothing but a bunch of hacks. They're either religious crusaders or they're corporate shills protecting corporations from the people.

People can say what they want about Kennedy, but at least he wasn't there just to vote "no" when the other party was in power and "yes" when his party is in power like these yahoos who are there today.

Matt-Man said...

Starr: And Nietzsche said it was religion. What a hack. Cheers!!

Desert Rat: I am here to help Rat. Yeah, in spite of his flaws he was a dedicated man. Cheers Rat!!

David: That was very nicely written David. As I said on Dianne's site today...I found it quite insppiring that wih all of his privilege he could have just stayed on the sidelines, but he didn't.

All of his warts, flaws and life became public and yet he continued to push his ideals.

Cheers David!!

Matt-Man said...

Jay: You are abso-fucking-lutely right. The Congress mirrors America and vice versa:

"Well how I am I supposed to think or vote? Tell me now, so I do the "right thing"" Jesus Fucking Christ. Cheers Jay!!

Starrlight said...

Exactly. Which is why retirement some place like Spain or Greece is sounding good to me. Maybe Belize.

Matt-Man said...

Starr: Belize would be cool, but there is the British influence. I bet the food sucks. Cheers!!

Starrlight said...

I love the Brits! 2 words. Robert Pattinson :P

And for the record I ate better there than a lot of other places in Europe :P

Jeni said...

Thanks, Matt-Man for expressing in your words here exactly how I was feeling about the death of Sen. Kennedy. I couldn't put my finger on what it was that would be missing without him around until I read your post. He may have had his screwups in life and a whole hell of a lot of tragedy to cope with too, but her rose above those things and just from the sheer volume of bills he authored or co-authored, etc., over his tenure in the Senate, I do think he exonerated himself from the bad stuff of his past. He was a great leader -no two ways about it!

Scott Oglesby said...

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

He made a huge difference in the lives of all Americans. He had the courage to fight for what he believed in and the tenacity to get things done. He was a lion. The newest generation of politicians are afraid of their own shadow, for fear of losing their seat. Even Obama is starting to crack and cave to the crackpots and cavemen.

Salute to a great man!

Michele said...

When we lived in Washington State there was a Congressman by the name of Jim McDermont. He is a real stick to his guns Democrat. The only thing that we don't know is whether he has the astounding ability to work across the aisle like Ted.

Matt-Man said...

Starr: Even though I'm Irish I share something common with the Brits...My fucked up teeth. Cheers!!

Jeni: why thanks. I agree. Love him or hate him he was a leader and he got things done. It's an of an era in more ways than one. Cheers Jeni!!

Scott: The legislation he introduced and helped get passed over his years has an enormous impact on our lives. And I too thought of Obama as well when writing this. As I wrote the other day, today, Obama seems to be playing not to lose rather than to win. Cheers Scott!!

Matt-Man said...

Michele: Now see, I do know of him. And you're right...Kennedy would go to great lengths to work with the other side in order to get things done. Cheers Michele!!

Micky-T said...

Growing up as a kid watching movies with Romans there was always the good senators wrapped in togas being the stately voice of the people and the bad ones abusing their power for personal gain. Hollywood made it easy to hate the bad guys.
I like to think of Teddy (I can call him that, I grew up in Massachusetts) as what every kid should imagine a great senator should be, in The United States of America.

Dana said...

My distaste for much of his politics is overshadowed by the very things you wrote here. He pushed - he made people uncomfortable - he got things done! *That* is how I'll remember him!

Matt-Man said...

Micky: I whole-heartedly agree wif ya, Mick. And speaking of Hollywood and the U.S. Senate, where the hell is Jimmy Stewart when ya need him? Cheers!!

Dana: The pushing people and bringign them out of their comfort zones are qualities in him that I admire greatly...and try to emulate. Hope things are okay with you. Cheers Dana!!

Dianne said...

my favorite part is where you talk about us having ourselves to blame

as much as I like to blame the media, Americans do have the incredible privlege of finding information on their own and forming opinions based on fact and heart - instead they wait to be told what to think

wonderful post Matty

Matt-Man said...

Dianne: We live in an era of 24/7 cable news, instant gratification, and cultural attention deficit disorder. People telling us what to think and believe, makes life much easier.

Thanks, Di. Wanna have sex now? Cheers!!

Karen said...

I know this might surprise you (not) but I don't buy into the Kennedy hoopla. Sure Ted Kennedy impacted out nation in amazing ways. He redeemed himself from a horrible situation and is now remembered only in greatness. And though he lived a rough life, he passed too young.

But the Kennedys are no more destined for greatness than any other family. They just have the money and pull to make things happen for themselves.

Cheesy said...

With the family name he grew up under it's no wonder he drank. With all of his past errors and tribulations.... he was truly a man who loved his country. I firmly believe in my heart if he had been elected Prez,,, We would now have health care. And being the A-poli I am I DO know my Senators! Smith and Wyden... Ron even walked my postal route with me once LOL- I almost killed him- And not even on purpose!

Matt-Man said...

Karen: I don't think I was adding to the hoopla. I am merely addressing the fact that greatness doesn't exist within the halls and chambers of the United States Congress.

As for the Kennedys...I don't think nor do I think Ted ever thought he was destined for greatness because of his name.

Ted could have just skated by on his name and enjoyed the family fortune.

Instead, he went to work everyday and not just to show up, but to do his job and make lives better for people in the way in which he saw it should be.

While he grew up in a family of privilige and poodles, Ted was a bulldog.

Cheers Karen!!

Matt-Man said...

Cheesy: Ha...Funny story, Cheese. And I think that perhaps you are rioght about health care and Kennedy.

On a completely unrelated note... Your Ducks are looking like this could be their year. Save a Duck eat a Beaver. Cheers Cheesy!!

Willie G said...

What you said!!

Kennedy was one of the few that damned the torpedoes and stood for what he believed in regardless of the consequences to his public standing or popularity. Unfortunately it will probably be a generation or more before history will honor him for who he really was. The right-wing-nut jobs will be sure to smear his memory for years to come.

Matt-Man said...

Willie: Hey the Willie. I listen to right wing talk rafio during the day for my amusement, and I've already heard the hate filled diatribes over Kennedy as early as yesterday morning. Eh, that's fine. Let them rot in their hate, for I know it isn't confined to Ted, it consumes their lives. Cheers Willie!!

snugs said...

You said this really well. I am just wondering is he the only Kennedy to die of natural causes...

Matt-Man said...

Snugs: Tahnks Snugs...There have been a few. Eunice recently for one, but as for Joe Jr., JFK, RFK, and Teddy, I heard a great line yesterday that went something like this...

Ted is the only Kennedy boy who got to put a comb through his gray hair.

While it is a sad truth, I dig that line. Cheers!!

Phfrankie Bondo said...

...a congress without Kennedy is like a day without sunshine...

Matt-Man said...

Phfrankie: I like your take on cliche. Simple and Sweet. And, from what I have heard from Senators on both sides of the aisle, your comment rings quite true. Cheers P-Man!!

katherine. said...

speaking from across the aisle....


The Kennedy clan has been a major force in our country for my entire life. The family name was created with intent. This family was destined to be different from others.

Papa Joe was a son-of-a-bitch who built his fortune and his family with the objective of being the political dynasty they have become. The assassinations of Jack and Bobby cut that short in many ways, but the family continues to impact our nation.

Rose was an Irish force to be reckoned with, and she raised that mob with her prime directive of Luke 12:48...

to whom much is given, much is expected.

Many of the third and fourth generation Kennedys continue to serve our country in that legacy. In many ways we are not privileged to hear about in this day’s rush to tell us how to think...rather than just telling us the facts.

Not to detract from Teddy’s many accomplishments and landmark legislations...but Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver have served this country greatly as well. Out here we had a great deal of news coverage about her endeavors as she was Arnold’s devoted mother in law.

Far too many of our elected officials do spend too much time and money on getting reelected...they make too many decisions for the popularity and the sound bite...for the lobbyist's dollars...and NOT for their constituents. On this matter there is a lot of blame to go around. The media for their coverage….the corporations for their dollars…and the public for watching and listening and reading in ways that treat our government like entertainment...and not like valuable knowledge. Teddy never really had to worry about getting reelected…(his family legacy and money put him there…and his accomplishments kept him there.) Ted Kennedy could focus on his job. Agree or disagree with his politics he was a hard worker who fought for what he believed in….and for the betterment of a country he loved.

While I still feel outrage over how Teddy was able to walk away (literally and figuratively) from the death of Mary Jo Kopechne…I have to admire the way he rebuilt his life and his reputation. It is a shame how we dance around the infidelity of current politicians…demanding their resignation…and cutting their political careers off at the knees. Had we held President Jack Kennedy or Senator Ted Kennedy to that same standard our country would have lost the benefits of these great men.

katherine. said...

cultural deficient disorder

that is just about perfect.

Matt-Man said...

Kat: I get the entire Kopechne thing...Perhaps he should have been charged with Vehicular Manslaughter, I can live with that. It was a major mistake in his life, and one he got away with in the legal sense.

As for Eunice, she was a great woman who impacted the lives of many. She was a way quite "saintly". But the main thrust of her life was directed to a certain segment of society. I'm not in anyway diminishing her efforts, I just think Ted impacted many segments of society.

I really do think Ted was a great legislator in spite of his personal demons, and you touched upon something I have said before on here...

I want greatness out of our legislators, but I don't demand perfection in their private lives. Many Americans, want perfection instead of greatness.

I make fun of the infidelities and questionable ethics of some politicians, but if you can show me that you will bend over backwards to make our country, safe, admired, and successful, I will follow you anywhere.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment Kat!!

Karen said...

I totally agree with you Matt! He could have rested on his name and he didn't. He was a bulldog.

And I didn't mean you were adding to the hoopla. I was referring more to the news coverage.

Matt-Man said...

Karen: I didn't mean that you were implying that I was adding to the hoopla. I realized after I typed it that it could have seemed that way. I apologize for that.

And I know, he wasn't everyone's cup of tea, in fact, politically, he was quite divisive, but yeah, he was a bulldog. Cheers Karen, you're goin' down in the Open Bar League this year. The Jonas Brothers will reign supreme!!

katherine. said...

Ah Mateo…you are far kinder than I.

I am not speaking of you my friend….but I don’t really think very many people in our culture expect or demand perfection from our elected officials.

It seems to me there is an alarming horde of people who take glee in others’ misfortune. They want to see greatness taken down. It makes them feel better about their sorry little everyday life. There is this need to expose scandal. And sometimes making scandal up when it doesn’t actually exist. To point fingers at those who have more, makes these people who have less feel superior…not because the finger pointers are more ethical or moral…but because they have caused embarrassment and hurt.

Starrlight said...

Ah yes, schadenfreude. We love to build folks up so we can tear them down. It's quite peculiar.

Matt-Man said...

Kat: See? I can be diplomatic. Or, is that Diplo-Matt-ic? I know what you mean...

Schadenfreud is the entree of choice for many. Sorry little lives are often bolstered by tearing down the lives of others. And one website that I love to frequent comes to mind.

Many men and women serve honorably in a variety of houses of legislation. We don't hear about them. We just hear about the jerks. And, I must admit that I expose those in question as well.

But, I don't do it to make my miserable life better, I just do it because it's fun.

I respect any Dem, Rep, or Swedish Nazi who does his or her job well. And, I don't care what they make or what they do in their personal life as long as they aren't a hypocrite about it. Cheers Kat!!

katherine. said...

is it something our culture has evolved into....this proclivity for schadenfreude...or is it in the dna of a segment of humanity?

Matt-Man said...

Kat: Actually it is something our culture has DE-volved into. Cheers Kat!!

Bond said...

If you want a life in public office then decide to make a difference and not just be a bitch to whatever lobby has your limited child-like attention at the moment.

Fight for those you represent and you do not need the money-changers and slime hanging around...

Will we ever have senators who represent for as many years as Kennedy, Holmes or the rest?

I just do not see it.

I care less if they cheat on their wife, screw the family dog or drink themselves silly...IF they show up to work...fight for what they believe in and do not change their beliefs every 5 minutes and care...

Matt-Man said...

Bond: Two Words for you...Damn Right. Cheers Vinny!!

Allison Dickson said...

Matt -- This was so beautifully written and summed up exactly how I feel about Kennedy's death. I wasn't alive during the Mary Jo incident, and as far as I'm concerned (and to quote VP Biden) he made a lie out of every mistake he ever made. If only the rest of us who have fucked up royally in our lives could go forth and accomplish great feats like Senator Kennedy did.

Matt-Man said...

Allie: Thanks and I must say...I have gone on to do apologize and live with my mistakes. Many times. Perhaps his death is your rebirth, because it's very good to see you again. Cheers Allie!!

katherine. said...

and so Mateo...given what Ted Kennedy did with his life after the death of MJK would you be willing to accept the apology of Sanford, Ensign or Edwards or other politicians....and see what they may be able to do with their lives?

Allison Dickson said...

Matt-Man -- I've been regularly updating my editing blog (allisonedits.blogspot.com), but I realize that could be boring for people who don't write a lot. lol I also have ReviewKu (www.review-ku.com)for movie reviews. I'm not sure I got much stomach left these days to blog about politics and current events, especially given the tsunami of stupidity over the whole health care debate and the deteriorating condition of meaningful discussion and debate in this country, at the behest of our despicable media. And since you and I have very similar political leanings, you probably know what I mean. ;)

I'll try to pop in as regularly as possible. I do so love your blog. Always have. You put a smile on my face, and your words help reaffirm my faith in humanity.

Allison Dickson said...

And I would like to answer Katherine's question by saying that I'd like to see what they do with the rest of their lives first. As of right now, those guys are still roiling in the shame and humiliation of their deeds.

Matt-Man said...

Kat: Of course I would...I think you know that as I am proponent of Biblical phillosophy, I am all for redemption.

I have redeemed myself many times; Sometimes it involved major things in my life. And if you look at the list of the great Senators that I mentoned, if that is what you are getting at, at least two of them were Republicans.

Matt-Man said...

Allie: I emailed you at that site and got no answer. Cheers Allie!!

katherine. said...

I wasn't really going for anything to do with political parties...or redemption per se...

I was just thinking if a married politician, who left his pregnant mistress drowned in his car over night, can ultimately become one of the greatest legislators of our time...maybe just the basic infidelity shouldn't be made into the type of scandal that forces a man from elected office. Wait till he is up for reelection and let his constituency decide.

(it would be convenient to know in advance what they will do with the rest of their lives first....but unless your crystal ball is better than mine..)

Matt-Man said...

Kat: Ted did what he did...or actually didn't do. Here's the thing...

He never asked for anyone to resign or apologize for a personal action or indiscretion...Those that you mentioned, at least two of them, have done so, and then fucked up.

I have no problem, I mean as far as being judgmental with their trysts, with those Sanford and Ensign. No one is perfect.

It's the hypocrisy that they have lived.

As for Edwards...He just screwed an ugly chick and got caught. What a dumb ass. Cheers!!

snugs said...

oh what an interesting and thought provoking stream of comments on this today...I don't excuse or judge what Teddy did with Mary Jo and I also do not second guess his relationship with the holy Jeebus. Did you know that he went to mass everyday for a full year after his momma's death? That is a whole lotta God time. His priest has counseled him. Who am I to know what sort of ammends he has made with the demons in his life. I guess I am trying to say that while I do not condone him publicly getting away with murder, I can not sit in judgment of him either & aside from his private defaults, he was an amazing warrior for the people.

Desert Songbird said...

Amen, Matt. Well said.

Matt-Man said...

Snugs: If only more people would leave the judging to God and one's own conscience...This world would be far better off. Cheers Snugs!!

Songbird: Why thanks. I had a moment of profundity. Cheers!!

Hoot Gibson said...

I'd do Laura in a NY Minute. How's that dead fucking Ted Kennedy pity tour going? We can only hope Jimmy "peanut brained" Carter is next.

Just another waste of anti-freedom clown, nothing better than dead Kennedys.

Starrlight said...

Indeed Hoot. Holiday in Cambodia rox.

VE said...

Well said...

I have a fire in my belly...but it might have been the BBQ sauce. Just sayin'...

Matt-Man said...

Hoot: Gee Hoot, I am sure that Laura is thrilled to know that. Cheers!!

Starr: Ha, I was thinking along that same line. Cheers!!

VE: Thanks VE...Here, have some Tums. Cheers!!