Is It Finally Time to Talk About Ted Kennedy?

In the #MeToo era, a taboo topic returns to the fore: The time U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy killed a lady.

Image for post
Image for post
Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy. 1932–2009. (photo: liz west)

As Maureen Callahan of the New York Post wrote on Sunday, “In the era of #MeToo, let’s revisit Ted Kennedy’s legacy”. Yes let’s- and long past time.

It is the best of times and the worst of times to be a card-carrying U.S. Democrat in 2019.

On the one hand, the current Republican President, his online and real-life antics, and the liberal left’s white hot hatred of him, makes it almost laughably easy to unite any room of Democrats instantly.

On the other hand, that’s about all the Democratic Party has going for it at the moment. Being united in mutual disgust is nice and all, and if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, please, come sit by me; but even the juiciest gossip eventually just runs out of juice.

What is known and suspected about Donald Trump, even as he goes to greater and greater lengths to shock and distress the left, is a topic that can only be recirculated so many times.

Did you hear the one about Donald Trump saying something egregious on the internet? There is nothing unfunnier than a joke you’ve heard a hundred times already.

Worse, that room of Democrats instantly united in unmitigated hatred of Donald Trump is just as instantly, and even more bitterly, divided as soon as someone mentions any one of a laundry list of far-left proposals that have been gaining ground since Bernie Sanders lost the nomination in 2016.

These proposals are a great deal more important than whatever President Donald Trump is trolling the press with that day, but the progressive proposals divide the Democratic electorate far more than they unify it.

Trump is easy to talk about; idealogical divisions in the Democratic Party are much more difficult.

Not all Democrats support open borders, abortion in the third-trimester, a cancelation of all college debt, and universal healthcare which includes undocumented immigrants. In fact, polls suggest that the further down the list you go, the fewer and fewer Democrats support you.

It is easy, if you’re a Democrat, to get really incensed about Donald Trump. Righteous indignation is a powerful force, but easily misplaced. Because another certain, terrible, inescapable truth about 2019’s Democratic Party must also be weighed in the balance.

Perhaps Socrates expressed it best when he once instructed acolytes to, “Tend your own garden.”

It is possible that people are turning to Donald Trump because they love Donald Trump; it is also possible that people are turning to Donald Trump because they just don’t trust Democrats.

Because it is also a rotten time to be a Democrat for another reason entirely. It was perhaps Nancy Pelosi’s daughter who put it best, if somewhat cryptically, on social media in response to billionaire Jeffery Epstien’s arrest for child trafficking and sex crimes.

Some of “our favorites”, she warned, might be implicated in the fallout.

It’s true.

Into the net intended for Donald Trump, has fallen any number of other powerful figures; wealthy men and their abettors; respected people in places of trust.

From the upper echelons of the Catholic Church; from the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America; from the lauded sports programs of prestigious universities; from the ranks of Olympic coaches; from the movie set, to the boardroom; from Wall Street to Main Street; how the mighty have fallen.

But even as the now-infamous little black book belonging to Jeffery Epstien begins to tell its story, and to name names, the subject of Ted Kennedy has stayed as remote as the moon landing, even as we quietly passed the 50-year anniversary of the drowning death of 28-year old intern Mary Jo Kopechne.

Even the 2017 movie mistreatment of the events of July 18, 1969 that derailed Ted Kennedy’s hopes of becoming President, has failed to ignite any serious reflection. How could a U.S. Senator and member of a prominent political family have possibly- and probably drunkenly- driven his car off a bridge in the middle of the night, fled the scene of the crime leaving his passenger to die, and still hold a Senate seat until his dying day?

Because of Sen. Kennedy’s actions that night, and the actions of his team of political fixers including his powerful father, we will likely never know what really happened that night.

What is known, is that after crashing his car with Mary Jo Kopechne inside it, Ted Kennedy walked to his nearby cabin and phoned, not the police, but lawyer Paul Markham and his cousin, Joe Gargan. Kennedy, Markham, and Gargan went to the scene of the crime but failed to rescue Kopechne.

Kennedy then returned to his hotel, by first swimming then walking, whereupon he complained about loud guests. Kennedy made 17 phone calls to political aides and friends that night before finally reporting the accident to the police, 10 hours later.

Kennedy eventually pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and he received a two-month jail sentence, which was suspended.

When he died in office in 2009, Ted Kennedy was lovingly eulogized by none other than former President Barack Obama.

“Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the U.S. Senate- a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, and who penned more than three hundred himself.” — President Barack Obama, Eulogy for Sen. Ted Kennedy, 2009

It may be time for those on the left to seriously reconsider their friends, or risk being judged by the company they keep. That is, if Democrats expect to draw a sharp contrast between themselves and Donald Trump come election day.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store