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The Improbable Political Existence of Teddy Kennedy

His ability to survive scandals that brought down other politicians is hard to wrap one's head around.

by
Frank J. Fleming

Bio

August 28, 2009 - 12:40 am

The death of Ted Kennedy is a time to reflect on how utterly insane his political existence was.

He seemed like the type of liberal the older conservatives just made up to scare us — privileged, elite, divorced from reality, amoral, and because he said the right things, it didn’t matter at all to him what his actual deeds or actions were.

But he was real! Liberals actually worshiped him! This is a hundred times more insane than thinking John Edwards was an authentic man of the people.

Am I being too harsh? I was born in 1979, so I didn’t hear much of these details first-hand, but if I understand things correctly … in 1969 he drove off a bridge with another passenger in the car. Instead of trying to rescue her, he fled and didn’t report the incident to police for ten hours.

That’s not just a minor indiscretion. Those are the actions of an irredeemable scumbag, right?

Yet not only was he not imprisoned, he didn’t even lose his Senate seat. In fact, he was reelected seven more times!

I feel like I’m on crazy pills just writing this!

We debate whether an adulterer should resign, but shouldn’t unrepentant manslaughter be beyond debate and partisanship? Wouldn’t someone with even the smallest amount of humanity and humility resign from public life after that? No one could be so egotistical and out of touch as to later run for president thinking: “Wow. The country sure could use someone with my judgment and moral fortitude to run it right now.” Right?

And shouldn’t the entire country have been outraged that he escaped a well-deserved prison sentence because of his wealth and connections? Or at least, you know, have not voted for him?

It should be unquestionable that the majority of people in Massachusetts are amoral, empty-headed scumbags for constantly voting for that man. That’s an objective fact, right? There aren’t some details I’m missing, are there? Like the only other choice besides Ted Kennedy on the ballot each time was a pedophile or an ax murderer?

Unless that was true, the only conclusion is that the majority of the citizens of his state are such mindless partisans that they would vote for someone who raped their sisters if he said the right things about welfare and abortion. That’s indisputable, right? What he did should not have only disqualified him from public office, but just voting for him should be considered a lapse in moral character that gets you shunned from society. It’s up there with being an open racist. How in the world has anyone taken Massachusetts seriously while that guy was their senator?

Many — including some conservatives — are saying that those pointing this out right after Ted Kennedy’s death are just people like me being silly partisans, turning anyone who disagrees with him into a monster. I’m sorry, but what other politicians are there that were this horrible a human being? Are there others who killed people and thought that shouldn’t really damage their political career? Is there a similar Republican example I’m turning a blind eye to?

The only people being moronically partisan are those who didn’t condemn the man and didn’t stand aghast at the fact he was still in politics. What excuses are there for him? I’ve never heard anyone try to defend what he did; they just brush it off like time made the grossest irresponsible treatment of human life imaginable now a minor indiscretion.

Are mindless liberal politics really all you need to look past crimes like that? If you’re reading this and feeling outraged on Ted Kennedy’s behalf, you’re the one putting partisanship before basic decency.

People are praising all the great things he’s done, and it’s pure madness. Some are calling him a civil rights champion. What great things has he done? He was in the Senate basically his whole life. All he did was be rich, privileged, and talk his mouth off about whatever was the fashionable subject of the time. That’s something we should strive for? What sacrifice did he make for civil rights (I know of the human sacrifice he made — I’m talking about personal sacrifice)? Wouldn’t someone who understands civil rights not have failed so miserably on the subject of how you treat an individual human being in your own car?

Can you really understand civil rights in the abstract while not knowing how to treat actual people?

And what was his civil rights legacy? He was a rich white guy who killed a woman and got away without consequences, and so paved the way that one day a black man, O.J. Simpson, could do the same?

One I’ve heard from conservatives, struggling to be nice, is that he was someone who stood up for what he believed in. Well, obviously someone who commits manslaughter and still thinks he can run for president doesn’t care what other people say about him. He might have been so beyond normal humanity he didn’t even comprehend it.

Still, people liked the guy, Republicans and Democrats alike. Anyone who worked with him seemed to have nice things to say about him. But I don’t get all the praise about his accomplishments that seems to ignore what a grotesque blemish it was on our country that he was one of our democratically elected officials, and how completely insane it was that such an amoral wretch had any say whatsoever in the lives of other Americans. Is everyone inside the beltway really that out of touch that they don’t realize that to the average American, Ted Kennedy is rightfully nothing more than a punchline?

I feel bad saying this about someone after he died, but I keep taking a dispassionate look at the facts and don’t see how I am in any way overreacting. I just don’t get his existence at all. Still, I feel I should say at least something nice about him, as so many care for him, so I’ll use a technique I once saw on The Simpsons — saying the complete opposite of what I was planning to say.

Ted Kennedy was a wonderful person who had genuine concern for his fellow man. He was someone who started with little and built that up to accomplish great things. What I’ll remember most about him is his common decency, his humility, and how his head was quite normal-sized.

Edward M. Kennedy, rest in some fashion somewhere.

Frank J. Fleming is the author of Punch Your Inner Hippie, coming November 11th, and the science fiction novel Superego, coming later this year, writes columns for PJ Media and the New York Post, and blogs at IMAO.us, and if he were president, he'd never be seen on the golf course during international crises, because he'd be in the White House basement playing video games.
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