Ted Kennedy was about as good as Democratic Senators are going to get. He genuinely believed in, fought for, and enacted progressive change. Legislation he helped pass probably improved the quality of your life or someone you know. Conservatives hated him for it and constantly reminded us of Chappaquiddick, an event some of them managed to morph into a murder.
I don’t totally begrudge them for constantly bringing it up over the years. Not only did Kennedy use his privilege to avoid the punishment that surely would have come down upon us normals, he managed to hold on to a frickin’ Senate seat in the process–an admirable feat even for the most well connected. Later he mounted a presidential campaign! You can’t even recover from an extra-marital affair in Argentina these days.
It’s a deep stain on his legacy but one contrasted by a lifetime of doing good in the public sphere. The same can’t be said for Bush, Cheney and Co. Their crimes are ignored by those who yelp about Chappaquiddick. And when they pass no criticism should be spared.
I’m no fan of dynastic privilege, nor do I feel any particular connection to the Kennedy family. This cartoon from earlier in the year encapsulates my thoughts on Camelot worship.
The woman on the right side of the comic is modeled after my cartoonist friend Mikhaela Reid.