“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
I won’t celebrate Ted Kennedy’s death — I don’t glory in the death of any man, even one I hold to have been a murderer. But I do wonder why I am supposed to mourn.
I am utterly indifferent. A man who was so effective for so long on so many fronts against every freedom I hold dear deserves, in my opinion, only my professional respect. Here’s what I mean by that.
The Spartans at Thermopylae fought against a horde of Persians that would have wiped out the rise of Western philosophy and thought. There was no love for the Persians among the Spartans — in fact, by many accounts, the Spartans called them cowards. And yet, according to the Spartans’ warrior philosophy, there was respect for the men that were able to kill them. As a political warrior, then, I respect the man that was most able to defeat my conservative brothers in political combat. He was, at least in my mind, the most capable liberal I’ve ever heard of.
So I respect him, at least professionally. Personally, I respect him much less. It does not take great self-control to become an austere man in one’s old age. It is much more difficult to live that way as a young man — and in that regard, Kennedy utterly failed. He used women — used them — in such callous fashion that I cannot hold him in high personal regard.
Chappaquiddick is another reason. I wonder if Kennedy was so intoxicated that he genuinely did not think of where or how Mary Jo Kopechne was. He killed someone. Someone with a name. A mother. A father. Someone with friends, whose absence was forever after marked by the continual celebration of the man who killed her on TV. There are undoubtedly people who loved Ted Kennedy; but there were people who loved Mary Jo Kopechne. No life is worth less than another. Every life is precious. And it is for that reason most of all, that I will not celebrate his death.
His life, though filled with every action I find contemptible, was as precious as Mary Jo Kopechne’s. I wish failure on my opponents, but not death. I will not mourn the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy…but I will not celebrate either. Today is simply a day to reload — because tomorrow, they come for health care in the name of Kennedy.