I just read a headline on Yahoo! stating that Ted Kennedy was the most important Kennedy.
Is that really true?
I do not think it is. I think that while some Kennedy’s have contributed more than others have to the good (or ill, if that is your opinion) of this nation, they each have been important in their own time and place. Without Joe Kennedy who was killed in WWII, would the world be the place it is today, without John Kennedy, would we have ever stepped foot on the moon….without Bobby Kennedy, would human rights become such a large part of our foreign policy….
Ted has been the patriarch of that family since that sad day in 1968 when Bobby was killed and has had to deal with every family crisis since. He comforted the family as they lost their family members…he eulogized more family members during his lifetime than most of us could ever think of. I will never forget when JFK Jr. was killed and Ted had to go out on the boat and identify the bodies of his nephew, his wife and her sister.
Does that make him a better politician than his brothers? Yes, he has made an enormous impact on this nation and the laws which govern it but he was afforded the time to do such things. I often wonder what it would have been like to have grown up in the 1960’s, to watch JFK and Bobby killed and to understand the promise that left this world when they did. I do know that had Bobby not been shot and elected President, the world would be different. I can’t say for sure if it would have been better or worse, no one will ever know, but it would have been different.
He is not the ‘last’ Kennedy of the nine, sister Jean still survives…but Ted tried to carry the promise of his brothers on, and what a burden that had to be. Maybe that’s what makes him the most important one to America….not the great things he did in life, but the family and time that he represented. Maybe that is what America is mourning this week…
“He answered Uncle Joe’s call to patriotism, Uncle Jack’s call to public service and Bobby’s determination to seek a newer world. Unlike them, he lived to be a grandfather.” Edward M. Kennedy Jr.