A few minutes ago, at approximately 1:45 a.m., news that Sen. Edward Kennedy had succumbed to his brain tumor came across the wires. Only reason I’m seeing this now is because I’m up studying Workers’ Compensation law. It’s gripping stuff, really.
Ted Kennedy is a conundrum for me. As a kid learning about the assassination of his two brothers, I was sympathetic toward the man. Nobody should have to endure such a loss. As a young adult learning of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, however, specifically in that officials felt as though a swift response could have saved her life and that he was more concerned with career and cover-up, any sympathy was gone for good.
While his voice during the civil rights movement was strong, welcome and warranted, his perspective on health care–which would rob people of the very treatments that had extended his life–and so many other pieces of social legislation has been hypocritical at best. For me, his contribution to beneficial anomalies such as the Americans With Disabilities Act will always be juxtaposed with his role in exponentially expanding the size, scope and reach of the federal government.
That being said, I’ve made it a personal policy to refrain from completely dumping upon someone at a time so near to their death. Kennedy was, after all, a United States Senator and an older American and thus deserving of respect. All politics aside, my thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy family — but any wish that he “rest in peace” should be noticeably absent, as he extended no such courtesy to Mary Jo Kopechne.