Why the Kennedys Were Awesome

Ted Kennedy

I usually try to steer clear of jumping on the eulogy train, but this seems like an appropriate time to say: I suspect that understanding the Kennedys (and in particular Ted’s generation) is key to understanding the second half of America’s 20th century. I say this because they seem to represent so much that is characteristically bad about politics during that time (corruption, nepotism and the boundless privilege of aristocracy) and so much that is good (a fundamental belief in the importance of public service and a compelling progressive vision of a peaceful, democratic America). They have also served as reminders that, as long as the political power of the individual is checked and balanced, and as long as the service rendered by that person is to the benefit of the nation, it doesn’t really matter in America whether that person serves as a means to acquire power or acquires power in order to serve—or even, in fact, whether that person’s daddy bought them a seat in the House of Representatives. (That last is about Jack, not Ted, of course.) So long, Ted, and thanks.

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