Short Notes: The Imperfect Death

Jose Vilson Short Notes

Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy

Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy

A few notes:

And finally, a word on Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy:

I confess: I’m too young to have remembered the assassinations of JFK and RFK. I’m also too young to remember Mary Jo Kopechne and the Chappaquiddick incident, and the early 90s when people profiled him as a drunken playboy. I also can’t remember anything about his or any of his family members’ personal tragedies. I learned most of what I know from my own informal research. I didn’t realize anything about the 300 or so he and his team helped enact during his tenure as senator and didn’t understand where this “Lion of the Senate” stuff came from.

But on Saturday morning, there I was, watching with most of America, the mass for Edward Kennedy. I usually don’t watch these memorials since I’m not inclined to do what everyone else does, but something told me I should. So much of the Kennedy legacy lays in this weird synchronism between majesty and mystery, of calamity and triumph, and moving time along as well as changing the times, too. Edward himself represented that wholly for 1/2 a century, and for that alone we need to thank him. (Just think: he went for Obama at a time when no one thought he had a chance in hell.)

He lived this duality that became a barometer for how the country’s ideals lie. He was privilege and humility, politics and servitude, tribulations and effectiveness. While it’s hard to forgive him for his role in the death of Mary Jo, how can I ignore his positions on health care and immigration? I’m always drawn to figures that induce argument and division, if only because all of us are far from perfect, but in our imperfections, we can find a means to do some sort of good. And unlike the rest of his departed siblings, he’s the only brother in the Kennedy generation to die of natural causes. Befitting for a life like his. May he rest in peace.

Jose, who’s beginning the journey all over again tomorrow …