Praise for dead senator blind
If a UH student were caught cheating, they can be almost completely sure that it will result in failing the class in question and most likely conclude in expulsion.
Apparently this is not the case at our nation’s most storied academic institution, Harvard University. At least, not if your name is Edward Kennedy. After his expulsion, the youngest member of Camelot was offered a second chance.
The death of Senator Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy has procured various different assertions of what exactly the legacy of this ‘Liberal Lion’ is.
Last week, news outlets praised Teddy for his reputation of bipartisanship, his compassion and his selfless 40 years of public service.
This praise was ludicrous, as the real legacy of Ted Kennedy is one of undue privilege, shirking laws and responsibility, calamitous policy decisions and bitter partisanship.
Born into what could be described as the closet thing to royalty in America, Kennedy was afforded every advantage and squandered almost everything.
After Kennedy was expelled from Harvard, he was eventually allowed to return to earn his degree. He continued using the power of his surname to avoid trouble on numerous occasions.
Another aspect discussed at length in the last few days was the perceived bipartisanship of JFK’s baby brother. One needs only to Google three words to debunk this falsehood: Kennedy, Bork and confirmation.
It was during the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork that Kennedy’s true colors were brightly displayed.
He maliciously claimed that Bork sought a segregated, sexist America. Kennedy’s only evidence was his contempt of the man who nominated Bork, former President Ronald Reagan.
Politicians are judged on their policy decisions more than anything and this is where Kennedy fell short. He led the way in defunding the Vietnam War, which led to the killing fields of Cambodia and the loss of countless human lives.
Additionally, it has been revealed that during the height of the Cold War, Kennedy offered to assist the USSR in its dealings with Reagan.
Teddy thought Reagan’s policies were too heavy handed. Had his approach to the Soviet menace prevailed, we might still have an East and West Germany today.
Think of all the money that could have been saved had the Germans not been forced to tear down that gorgeous wall.
Finally, there is the elephant in the room: the skeleton of a 29-year-old woman in the passenger seat of a 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont. Mary Jo Kopechne drowned after Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island.
He not only swam to safety and left Kopechne to die, but was so distraught by what had occurred that it took him 10 hours to report the accident; after he talked to his lawyer.
Once again, Teddy cashed in his Kennedy-card and got off with a two-month suspended sentence and never spent a day in jail. He did, however, have his license suspended, so maybe we can call it even. The skeletons in most politicians closet are only figurative.
Although I grieve for his family, I simply cannot stomach the blind praise for such a fundamentally flawed individual.
Timothy Mathis is a history junior and may be reached at [email protected]