Thursday, August 27, 2009
There has been a lot said about Ted Kennedy by people who are better writers than me and who know more about him than I do, but one thing is inescapable: this man--despite his faults, which we all have, right?--was a brave, brave person. In a way his brothers had it easy--he endured so much more vitriol and bullshit for having lived as long as he did, and fighting the battles he did. And standing up and facing the world--especially the vicious, bloody world of politics--after suffering all the personal hardships he did (some admittedly self-inflicted) he proved to possess a fearlessness the rest of us can only admire from afar.
Not only that, he had more to lose for fighting the battles he fought. As someone from the blueblood set, someone who was taken care of for life, he had nothing at all to personally gain from his support for regular folks and their rights. He stood up to his heritage, and his neighbors, and his father's and grandfather's friends his entire career--because it was the right thing to do. Do you think that back in the late sixties anyone in Hyannisport gave a shit about the 'rights of the negro?'
It's hard to imagine this kind of integrity today, when a senator like Max Baucus can sell out virtually his entire constituency for a few million in campaign funds.
While we're at it, fuck any fat-ass, bloviating pundit from either side of the aisle who thinks bravery is calling for OTHER people to go to war, or for OTHER people to forgo healthcare, or for OTHER people to suffer during economic hard times. You are small-minded, grasping trash, selfish, yet dumb enough to be bought for pennies, desperate to elevate yourself to a level you cannot possibly achieve. You will always be greedy, low-rent garbage, willing to sell your ass and your children's asses for a few bucks. You think you are of a different class than the rest of us, but the truth is you have no class whatsoever.
Unlike Ted Kennedy.
And here is another tidbit that hasn't been commented on much, not that I have seen, anyway. He knew the end was coming, he knew the end was near, and what did he do? He dragged his ass out here to Denver and gave a helluva speech last summer, and he fought as hard and long as he could for the things he believed in, but he also ACCEPTED the end. From the nytimes:
'WASHINGTON — The once-indefatigable Ted Kennedy was in a wheelchair at the end, struggling to speak and sapped of his energy. But from the time his brain cancer was diagnosed 15 months ago, he spoke of having a “good ending for myself,” in whatever time he had left, and by every account, he did.'
That sentiment, to me, is what is most desperately missing from modern American outlook. We are stark raving terrified of death. We alter our faces, our bodies and our skin through surgery, we change our diets in the hopes of staving off death for an extra year--hell, we freakin OBSESS over our diet, we slave in the gym (guilty) spending countless hours today trying to buy a few extra hours...when? When we're broken-down and near death?
We imagine ourselves so very fucking special that there is no way the world can continue without us.
To hear someone speak aloud of the coming 'end' just seems so healthy and natural and, well, sane to me. Rather than screeching about anti-oxidants and wearing helmets and elbow pads for a walk downtown, we could all learn from his example.
An aside: why is it that hardcore religious people--that is, those who presumably believe most strongly in an afterlife--seem to be the ones most terrified of death? If they truly believed in an afterlife of sunshine, candy and roses on a cloud with Jeebus, wouldn't they be rushing people to the exits rather than pulling a Schiavo whenever the opportunity crops up? Wouldn't they sing and dance and cheer whenever a loved one died?
Just a thought.
RIP Teddy. Here was a Man. He Stomped on the Terra.