Passing the Kennedy Torch: Who’s Next?

By Yul

Cats Working has been mourning the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. He was a dog person and behind getting Bo into the White House, but Karen asked me to write a Yulology, because any friend of Obama is a friend of mine.

I hope in Ted’s honor Obama grows a spine on healthcare and helps Ted posthumously realize his lifelong dream of affordable access for all Americans.

Kennedy always sided with the little guy, marched to the beat of progress, and tried to make the world a fairer place for everybody, even when Republicans made empathy and generosity seem like sins.

He never got discouraged or distracted by the nuts who kept screaming, “Oh yeah? But what about Chappaquiddick?” to derail anything he tried to accomplish. If Ted had one thing in spades, it was perseverance.

Ted’s generation was raised to embrace public service, but it didn’t trickle down so well to the next one — probably because they saw a father and an uncle get mowed down in their primes for trying to do some good.

At Ted’s services, in that mob of Kennedys, I didn’t see anyone reaching to pick up his torch. Sure, Caroline half-heartedly vied for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, only to reveal she’s not cut out for public office.

The next liberal “lion of the Senate” won’t be a Kennedy. It will be John Kerry, who is now Massachusetts’ senior senator. Like Ted, he doesn’t have to worry anymore about running for president. I predict he’ll be the one who lights a fire under Obama on healthcare.

Remember, you read it here first.

Cats Working welcomes Senator Kennedy to Virginia, where he’ll be spending eternity at Arlington National Cemetery. Rest in peace, Teddy.

4 Responses to Passing the Kennedy Torch: Who’s Next?

  1. MorganLF says:

    For a long, long, time I could not forget or forgive Chappaquiddick. In retrospect he could have just went away and led a private, privileged even more debauched life, he did not have to stay and take it, becoming the butt of every joke for all time.

    He embraced public service, felt it was a DUTY and took it seriously. He was the ultimate deal maker and as evidenced by the news coverage pretty much liked by all, liberal and conservative.

    I’ll miss Teddy. He’s the last relic of my parents’ generation and their sensibilities. They felt duty to family and country and truly believed there was room for everyone.

    Good bye Senator.

  2. catsworking says:

    Hi, Morgan. Karen here. I couldn’t write about Teddy myself because I still get choked up, so Yul offered his Yulogy.

    In the ’70s, a friend and I spent a week on Martha’s Vineyard, rented bikes one day and took the ferry to Chappaquiddick to see for ourselves what must have happened.

    There was only one paved road on the island. We rode and rode and got nowhere. Maybe saw a few houses. The place was virtually uninhabited.

    Riding back, the road curved left to the ferry, and to the right was a road of beach sand that went to the infamous Dyke Bridge. We couldn’t ride the bikes on it. The sand was so deep and soft, it was virtually impossible to push them through it, and we didn’t want to leave them unattended, so we had to abandon the mission without seeing the bridge.

    However, we concluded there was NO WAY Teddy could NOT have known he’d taken a wrong turn, which was one of the claims I think he made at the time. He definitely would have felt the tires in that sand.

    Yes, it was a terrible, fatal lapse in judgment, and I think his upbringing and his family caused it. He’d been a screw-up and a womanizer, but this mess eclipsed everything. I think he totally panicked, tried to reach Mary Jo himself and couldn’t. Given the isolation of the spot, I don’t think there’s any way he could have gotten help there in time.

    My memory on the details is fuzzy now, but I just read that he walked back to the house where he’d been partying to get some help, which must have been some distance, then he SWAM across to Martha’s Vineyard instead of calling the ferry back. Obviously, his mind was reeling.

    He paid the rest of his life for that one horrible night and never lived it down. Even though he had his own sorrows and demons to face every day, he managed to be a beloved father figure to 13 extra children and become a model senator, always fighting on the side of progress. He always put family first — his and everyone else’s. He only ran for president because he was expected to by the family.

    I’ll miss Teddy, too. I think we’ve seen the end of the Kennedys as American royalty.

  3. Adele says:

    Ditto on the sentiments. I’m a pretty cynical person, especially when it comes to politics and religion, but I spent Friday night and most of Saturday glued to the TV set, and I admit, I shed a tear. Morgan, several commentators also made the point that after Chappaquiddick, Teddy could have just retired, but his need to serve and perhaps his need for redemption, kept him going. I can’t think of the person, who said, “There are no second acts in American life.” That certainly didn’t apply to Ted Kennedy, and after truly straightening himself out in the early 90’s, he had what may have been his most productive period. Kind of makes you wonder what John and Bobby would have been like, if they’d lived relatively full lifetimes.

    And Yul, you may have called it exactly right about John Kerry. Now let’s just hope health reform WITH the public option gets rammed through. Good of you to welcome Teddy to Virginia — even though he was a dog person, I like to think he would have been happy to have a beer and a chat with a feisty fellow like yourself.

  4. catsworking says:

    Adele, the senator from Massachusetts ended up in Virginia, just like Karen. It’s also ironic that Ted was a dog person, considering he so often worked like a cat to get what he wanted. I think he would have liked me, and I’d definitely have shared some of my best ‘nip with him.

    Karen has a friend who lives in Arlington, and she took her daughter to the cemetery yesterday to pay their respects. They saw Vicki praying at Ted’s grave, and her daughter remarked on how difficult it must have been for Vicki to have to walk away and leave him there.

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