Edward Moore Kennedy

I read about the death in bed of Edward Kennedy this morning, and thought of what is probably an inappropriate slow version of an Irish song--The Holy Ground--which I've put below. The 'Edward Moore' in his name referred back to Honey Fitz's Secretary and his father's bagman on Wall Street and in London. He was a kind of strange angel to Joe Kennedy's monster.

Nothing is ever pure with the Kennedys. What's that old saying; 'some people grow up and go into politics, they go into politics and sometimes grow up'. That's too trite though; not to have been killed in war, or by bullets, or by aeroplanes, or by drowning is, for a family of sacrifice and, often, self-destruction, a remarkable feat in itself.

I find myself constantly comparing the good Kennedy did, and the tradition of communal, insider politics he advanced with the way Mary Jo Kopechne seems to have died, the way his brothers and sisters lived and left the world, and the effect on a man of what must have been a very strange life and upbringing. In my experience, English people and their line had an almost instinctive aversion to him, and Irish people had a little of the sense of how tragically mixed a life can be.

That is not to say, of course, that anyone was taken in, though I've learned in life that unless one actually knows all the facts, or the people one purports to judge in person, few personal assessments are reliable.

I suspect that there are all sorts of things that will now come out that are best left for another post, though in some quarter or other they have probably been aired already.

May God have mercy on his soul.


David Lindsay said…
Ted Kennedy has gone, as we will all go eventually. Requiescat in pace. Jesu mercy, Mary pray.

Meanwhile, in filling his seat, the Democratic Party has the opportunity to send to the Senate, not only an uncompromising supporter of the Kennedy Bill (as the healthcare bill could reasonably now be renamed), but also a figure capable of reaching out to those who, on the same day as they elected both President Obama and a Democratic Congress, made it clear at those same polls that, in Florida and California, they wanted back the country where marriage only ever meant one man and one woman. That, in Colorado, they wanted back the country that did not permit legal discrimination against working-class white men. That, in Missouri and Ohio, they wanted to preserve the country where gambling was not deregulated. And that, from coast to coast, they wanted that country as stalwarts of, especially, the black and Catholic churches.

That opportunity was missed in black and Catholic Illinois and New York, and in Catholic Delaware. Let it not also be missed in Catholic Massachusetts. Not that the new Senator actually has to be either black or a Catholic. But he or she does need to be, in addition to a fully-signed up supporter of Kennedy's economic populism in general and of the Kennedy Bill in particular, a fully-signed up believer (as is President Obama) that marriage is only ever the union of one man and one woman, opponent of discrimination against working-class white men, opponent of deregulated gambling, believer in the public role of the churches, and supporter of Bob Casey's Pregnant Women Support Act (effectively endorsed by the President at Notre Dame).

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