Then, the Judgment

To his credit, Randy sent this piece to me at 2:20 a.m. today. I was too busy doing some schoolwork and then busy at work and did not notice it until later on. I also have a piece from Dr. William Harvey, who had even a more personal connection with the Massachusetts senator than did Randy. Barring anything unforeseen, I’ll get Dr. Harvey’s commentary up here in a few hours’ time. Both are good, but very different. — Jeff

By Randy Wills
America’s Right

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
– Heb. 9:27 (KJV)

It’s late here in the northwest, but I’ve been sitting here, meditating on the death of Edward M. “Teddy” Kennedy, announced just a short time ago by his family. You see, our paths crossed many years ago back in Massachusetts.

We didn’t actually meet, but, as the general manager of a small electronics company during the mid-sixties, I used to frequently fly the Eastern Airlines shuttle between Boston and Washington, D.C., where the business that I managed had a number of customers. On occasion, the newly minted junior senator from Massachusetts would also be on board. Then, in the late sixties, when I launched my own business, the law firm in Boston representing my interests was closely connected to the Kennedys (the senior partner was appointed to a judgeship by “The President”, John F. Kennedy). The first meeting that I hosted with the law firm and the investor group that they had formed to back my new venture was held (not coincidentally) in a private dining room at Locke Ober’s, Teddy’s favorite restaurant in Boston in those days. Those were halcyon days for me, but they were not to last long for either me or Teddy but, for my part, that’s another story.

Teddy, who had first filled out the remainder of his older brother’s term via special election in 1962 when John became president, was elected in his own right to a full term in 1964 and was on his way, politically speaking. But then things started to go wrong. John was assassinated in the fall of 1963 and then, in 1968 when it looked like Bobby would go on to become the Democratic nominee for the presidency, he too was killed by an assassin’s bullet. One year later came that fateful night of July 18, 1969 when it seemed certain that young Teddy’s career on the national political scene was over. And, by all rights, if personal integrity made any difference, it should have been.

As you know, that was the night of the infamous “Chappaquiddick Incident” when Mary Jo Kopechne, a beautiful, 28-year-old, unmarried campaign worker for Bobby Kennedy drowned in Teddy’s submerged ’67 Oldsmobile, which he had accidentally driven off the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. Mary Jo had been a tireless campaign worker for Bobby Kennedy–one of a special group of young women who had manned “The Boiler Room”–and she, along with Teddy and some of the other “Boiler Room Girls,” were having a reunion party near the beach just one year after Bobby’s assassination.

If you don’t already know all of the details of that night, the information is easy to find. The bottom line, however, is that Teddy escaped the submerged car and took off, leaving Mary Jo to drown without making any attempt to rescue her or call for help. Authorities even speculated that, because Mary Jo’s body was found in the car, pressed up in a spot that likely would have held an air bubble, she had actually suffocated rather than drowned. Regardless, it is difficult if not impossible to think of a more self-centered, callous act than Teddy Kennedy was guilty of that night.

I was shocked at the news reports the next day, and I was certain that the last hope of that generation of the Kennedy family as a major player in national politics was done. But then I learned about the absolute disconnect between reality and the voting public. And we all know what happened from that point on.

Yes, Teddy was denied the nomination of the Democratic Party for the presidency in 1980, but he returned to Capitol Hill and nonetheless went on to become known as “The Lion of the Senate” and to be given iconic status in the Democratic Party as “America’s Statesman” for his determined efforts to pull the nation to the left with his liberal policies.

But I never could get over the fact that the public was willing to vote for a man who was partying with that group of young campaigners near the beach at Chappaquiddick while his pregnant wife, Joan, was bedridden as a result of having already suffered two miscarriages. How do you live with yourself knowing that you, acting out the behavior that the Kennedy men were so famous for, caused the death of an innocent young woman while saving your own life?

His wife, ostensibly because of her husband’s womanizing, apparently tried to drown her humiliation in alcohol and eventually, this woman who had been a beautiful American model before marrying Teddy (John called her “The Dish” because of her beauty) wound up one night in 2005 lying disheveled and seriously injured on Beacon Street in Boston, reportedly not knowing where she was, how she got there, or what had happened to her.

What must have teddy, as the last hope for political prominence of the Kennedy clan, been thinking as he lay on the bed in the motel in Edgartown that night, supposedly having swam across the channel separating Chappaquiddick from Martha’s Vineyard after his car plunged into the water at Dike Bridge, knowing that Mary Jo’s body was still in the car? One can only conclude that it was for his own political survival that he was concerned, but that act of cowardice never became a factor in his re-election to the Senate from the great state of Massachusetts. That’s when I became a cynic about politics, specifically the kind of politics that emanates from places like Massachusetts and Chicago, Illinois, where nothing matters but power.

And that’s what I’ve been ruminating on tonight since I heard that the Honorable Senior Senator from Massachusetts had passed on. I took a few moments, thinking. But then I remembered the verse in Hebrews and said to myself: “this one’s for you, Mary Jo.”

—————
Randy Wills lives in the Northwest with his wife of over 52 years and divides his time between his role as Operations Manager of a software development business founded with his son in 2002 and maintaining close contact with his extended family. Both he and his wife are avid readers and spend as much time as they can together reading and engaging in deep discussion of history, religion, and politics. For recreation, Randy and his wife like to “get away” in their RV.

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Comments

  1. Gail B says:

    Randy Wills, I admire you. You are not an enabler. You do not pull the curtains so people can't see.

    My feeling is that we should take responsibility for our actions. If we don't want people to find out what we're doing, then we shouldn't be doing it in the first place. That's called knowing the difference between right and wrong.

    Ted Kennedy might have had the gift of persuasion as a Senator, but he lacked the moral fiber of a real statesman, in my opinion.

    Thank you for your honesty. Great job!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It doesn't look good for Ted but we don't know what happens when time stops and a person passes. I have heard interesting stories of God's intervention in those "moments"… we just don't know. One thing's for sure, God doesn't take pleasure in the death of any man, and, the verse from Hebrews stands as a sober reminder.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Randy,

    This article moved me. I very much appreciated your personal and fresh perspective on the subject. Thank you for writing this.

  4. goddessdivine says:

    Great perspective. Thanks for the write up!

  5. Linda says:

    Thank you for this article, Randy. While others are canonizing Ted Kennedy today, you are brave enough to lay out the truth. There was also speculation that perhaps Mary Jo might have even been pregnant (by you know who) – but that's just speculation (although not out of the realm of possibility). Disgusting incident about which everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your rememberance of Ted Kennedy. Your description of Ted's career was spot on. Chappaquiddick would have been the end for most people in this country and could have meant prison, but Ted was afterall a Kennedy so it was fixed. My sister was the a marketing representative for an airline. Ted used to fly down to Washington frequently using their service and my sister had to deal with problems his drinking and womanizing on the plane used to create. I guess this was another Kennedy trait…

    Now that Ted has passed over, I wonder how things went on the other side. God is a forgiving God, but he also is a God of justice. Men choose how to live their lives, but once that life is over God shows them the error of their ways.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Randy, Thanks for remembering Mary Jo who did not have the opportunity to live her life as Ted Kennedy did with every possible advantage. The Kennedy's remind me of the 'ugliness' of politics..the shady dealings of Joe Kennedy who taught his sons how to 'play' the game, the acceptance of their indiscressions because of who they were and the phoney idolization of a family that acquired great wealth thru questionable means and used it to create a facade of respectability
    worthy of emulation by those not so privileged. I grieve for a young girl who didn't have the chance to experience marriage, motherhood, grandchildren etc. I don't grieve for one who had all those blessings and chose to treat them with callous disregard in pursuit of his own pleasures. He was given a pass here on earth but I wonder if now he feels it was worth it. God have mercy on his soul and on all of us as we are reminded that one day we will answer for how we have lived. I pray Mary Jo is resting in the arms of Jesus for there could be no better place to be. I hope that those who choose to worship at the altar of the Kennedy family will pause and reflect on Mary Jo and offer prayers for her as well.

  8. FIREWORKS says:

    I fear what awaits politicians when they get in the presence of a Lord who went ballistic over money-changers.

  9. Jeffrey Shallit says:

    Teddy Kennedy probably acted recklessly and his actions killed one American woman needlessly.

    But Bush and Cheney acted recklessly and their actions killed thousands of Americans needlessly.

    Who is more morally culpable?

  10. Claudia says:

    for Gail,
    you stated: [Ted Kennedy might have had the gift of persuasion as a Senator, but he lacked the moral fiber of a real statesman, in my opinion.]

    I personally think that Teddy Kennedy was a despicable man in just about every arena of his life. He did not have Moral Fiber of a kind that I would want any of my children or grandchildres grow up and emulate. Thank God and all that is right, that there are still many of us who have long memories and the knowledge and ability to renounce what Ted Kennedy did have, and that was greed and lust for power.

    I know I should not speak ill of the dead, however, as far as I am concerned the good that was the Kennedy family died the night Bobby was killed and before that the day that John was killed, as those were the only good men in that family and I have to wonder why, out of 8 kids, every other one of them were really as bad as the father, except maybe Eunice and Rosemary. The legacy of corruption/disproportional reduction of morals always runs deeper than we know.

    I would like very much for the Kennedy fiber/light to fade out of the limelight altogether, because every person that they touch has had more problems in their lives than they deserved.

    Mary Jo deserved so much better than she was given, if for nothing else than the infatuation/love (?) that she most likely felt and for the possible child that she carried inside her to her death in that cara all alone in the water, while Teddy was sleeping his affair off, for the "married" man who was wooing her with his charms and indescretion. What a pig he was, all of his life…..

  11. SHALL IT EVER END WITH JEFFREY? says:

    And Professor Shallit the Canuck returns…… funny Obama isn't bringing troops home. I am sorry Bush kept your sorry arse safe as he was keeping mine safe.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Shallit has the mind of a 60's hippie.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Shallit,
    You did not include Harry Truman or FDR or JFK or LBJ in your comparisons of who is more culpable. My, my what would you dimwits do if you didn't have Bush and Cheney to rail against? I'm surprised you aren't blaming them for Kennedy's death.

  14. Randy Wills says:

    To Professor Shalit:

    "Teddy Kennedy PROBABLY acted recklessly"? PROBABLY? You've got to be kidding. How about calling a spade a spade? What he did was the most despicable kind of self-worshiping cowardice to save his sorry butt for the glory of the Kennedy mistique.

    And if you are referring to the U.S. military ("thousands of American lives"), I would like to point out a minor point that you seemed to have missed;

    Every person in our armed services who has died in the mid-East conflict is a volunteer and knows that when they take the oath of service their life is at the descretion of the military chain-of-command, starting with the Commander-in Chief. If a person isn't willing to live with the possibility that they might well die in combat, than don't enlist.

    So if your point is moral equivalency, it doesn't exist.
    And you're a professor of what?

  15. NO CRITICAL THINKING REQUIRED says:

    Shallit probably teaches philosophy….sure doesn't have the mind of an engineer.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Dear Leader Shallit:

    Let's see…..we MUST take this analogy to it's destination:

    While I am NOT at all a fan of Bush/Cheney for many reasons, including the Iraq war, may I remind you that "The Esteemed Senator Edward Kennedy" ALSO supported the legal killing of in-womb citizens of our country? MILLIONS of them! That puts the Iraq war figures in context.

    War is horrific….but so is ABORTION! The most innocent of lives are slaughtered at the altar of moral relativism.

    And there is NO DOUBT in ANYONE'S mind, even the MSM, that Teddy was completely culpible in Mary Jo's death, and in such a selfish, cruel way!

    "Probably" is a cop-out! Grow a spine and stay on point….this discussion was not about the Iraq war…

    But that is another Alinsky tactic…distraction from the true issue.

    TIRED….ARCHAIC….AND VERY WELL-KNOWN TO AMERICAN PATRIOTS BY NOW.

    Lisa in TX

  17. Jeffrey Shallit says:

    "Professor Shallit the Canuck returns…":

    Wrong, of course. I'm not Canadian. But even if I were, why would my nationality have any bearing on the truth of my observation? It is remarkable how dim-witted this audience is.

    Currently, I'm in Massachusetts. Senator Kennedy's body lay in state and was visited by thousands and thousands, and story after story is told about how Senator Kennedy personally helped them.

    Even conservative legislators like Orrin Hatch acknowledge his prowess as a Senator and his personal kindliness.

    Kennedy wasn't perfect; I remember Chappquiddick as well as anyone. But a man should be judged on his whole record. I think what really bothers readers here is that Kennedy actually cared for the poor and sick, and many people loved him for it.

    Your nastiness shows you for what you are.

  18. Randy Wills says:

    Names, always names, Mr. Shalit, never logic.

    Was Teddy guilty of immoral behavior that directly led to the death of an innocent young woman? Of course he was. No one denies that. Then should a person of such low character be allowed to stay in a position of political power? Of course not, or then there would be no argument against a Bundy or a Manson holding public office. They were also chrarismatic; they just didn't have the political power structure backing them, that's all. Morally, there was little difference, was there? The moral coldness was the same; self-gratifying actions leading to someone's death and then thinking only of saving one's own skin.

    My point was that he should never have been allowed to return to the Senate, and in a better world he wouldn't have been, but, as I said, there is Massachusetts politics just as there is Chicago politics, and we all know how that works, don't we?

    The thing that really irked me at the time was that even the Cardinal failed to speak out clearly against Teddy's actions.

    And as for Teddy caring for "the little people", like all liberals, Teddy cared for the poor with other person's money; not his own. He, like all politicians, understand the pyramid-shape of wealth distribution and went for the layers that were the most susceptible to demagogery and represented the largest number of voters. If you can show me where he, or any of like kind, are half as generous with their own wealth as they are with mine, I'll eat my hat.

    And as for Lisa's "nastiness" (or was it me that you were referring to?), I'll take her "nastiness" over the vacuous rhetoric being spewed out by liberals such as yourself who have no objective moral standard by which to judge anyone.

  19. PROFESSOR, OR GILLIGAN? says:

    Randy,

    He was railing on me….. Canuck, I just love saying it, it kinda rolls off the tongue. He may have American papers, but Canada has rubbed off on him…… and notice the way he spoke orgasmically about Massatwoshits and Kennedy….. please….. and to think he 'professes' to peoples young people…. I feel sick.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The entire intelligence world thought Hussein had WMD….. now Uday and Qusay are dead, Hussein hung and dead, 26.000,000 living in freedom…. volunteers troops serving valiantly and believing in their mission…..

  21. Gail B says:

    Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

    Jeffrey Shallit said, "Currently, I'm in Massachusetts."

    So that's what's wrong with you?!

    Let me explain something to you, you fascist liberal: "Your kind" never, I repeat, NEVER produce facts. All you liberals know how to do is to call names and argue.

    If you don't like what we say, go to one of Obama/Soetoro's fan sites.

    By the way, Professor: Can you prove what Obama/Soetoro's real name TODAY is? And, let me ask you this: How can Obama/Soetoro be a NATURAL-BORN CITIZEN when the man he claims to be his father was a Kenyan-born citizen and thus a British subject until Dec. 12, 1963? The Constitution of Kenya gave such a Kenyan's SON Kenyan citizenship on the same day, December 12, 1963, NO MATTER WHERE THE SON WAS BORN.

    ANALYZE THAT!

  22. Gail B says:

    Jeffrey Shallit, you are so full of it!

    Kennedy acted carelessly–and killed a girl.

    But Bush and Cheney acted recklessly and their actions and kept us safe for eight years.

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