I sit here muddling through a sense of disbelief that Ted Kennedy has passed away. It certainly comes as no shock under the circumstances. It's just that the image of him being wheeled into the senate to cast the deciding vote in the health care battle has been seared into my imagination. It's clearly the only thing he was holding out for.
Bouncing around the web a bit I see the haters on the right are wasting no time in hating on the man. Over at fark the freepers have invaded the RIP thread expressing sentiments that the "baby killer could burn in hell." The Kennedys collectively as a family seem to have a unique place among American liberals in engendering the anger bubbling from their lizard brains.
I've never really understood this anger. I've tried, I really have. The philandering and drunkenness conservatives rattle on about seem almost quaint when considering the tales of republican politicians chasing around congressional pages these last twenty years.
Of course there's Mary Jo. The thing that's always struck me about that is how odd it is to listen to people who wouldn't cross the street to help a poor person, who could care less about the financial circumstances of the middle class, who cold care less about the young bodies ripped apart in pointless wars rail on and on about the life of a secretary killed decades ago as if she was a member of their own families.
They would never admit it but I suspect this anger comes from the fact that John and Bobby and Ted really cared about the weakest members of our society and tried to use the instruments of government to make those people's lives better. In this sense the Kennedys embodied the truest sense of christian charity in a way conservatives could never understand. That's why the Kennedys drove conservatives crazy. Despite all their flaws they were still better men than the Ronald Reagans of the world.
I hope Ted is somewhere right now drinking a whiskey with his brothers. Thanks to all of 'em for trying to make America a better place.