In the decades since Ted Kennedy’s car plunged into a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island, Republicans have been eager to use the incident as a political weapon against Democrats.
And why wouldn’t they?
The Kennedy family has been uncritically worshipped for decades by starry-eyed Leftists. JFK, Bobby, Teddy. Camelot. Wealth, looks, social status. This American dynasty has staying power and its influence on politics is undeniable.
While Democrats attempted to move past the tragedy and heaped praise onto the eventual “Lion of the Senate”, Republicans were swift to tag Ted Kennedy as an unfeeling monster who got away with a heinous act of negligence because of his last name and political aspirations.
There is no doubt that Ted Kennedy’s actions on that July night (only two days before man walked on the moon) were reprehensible. He did not contact authorities for ten hours. Mary Jo Kopechne, the young woman trapped inside the submerged vehicle, could most likely have been saved.
But she wasn’t, and that changed the course of Kennedy’s – and quite possibly the country’s – future.
The new movie Chappaquiddick is a tense, chronological retelling of the actual incident and the week following, wherein Kennedy and his minions worked to smooth things over. It is a well done, honest portrayal, not at all extremely kind to anyone involved, except the innocent parties.
Frankly, it’s refreshing to see something like this come out of Hollywood. Though I’m sure many in Tinseltown aren’t pleased with its existence, they can’t escape it. It happened. A young woman died, and Kennedy was to blame.
Out here in Middle America, there was an excitement in the lead-up to the movie’s release. Finally, there would be an actual, factual jab at Democrats displayed on theater screens nationwide. Hollywood is never in our court and this movie, even just a retelling of real-life events, would finally point the finger in their direction, too.
While all that is true, and yes, refreshing, it should never cause those of us on The Right to sanitize our own political past or even the very real and questionable present.
Jill Filipovic, a hysterical, pro-abort, 3rd wave feminist was more than eager to take Chappaquiddick and turn it back on Republicans as an indictment against their supposed anti-woman nature. Just the title of her piece, Since Chappaquiddick, Democrats’ views of women have evolved. Republicans’ still need to induced laughter.
I mean, is she aware of the #MeToo movement? Does she have any clue about what started all that? Harvey Weinstein – not a Republican – enjoyed decades of predatory behavior in Hollywood and was a favorite among the political Left. (He was even good friends with Hillary Clinton.) Then there’s the aptly-named Anthony Weiner. And don’t forget, the Democratic Party poster-boy and predator, Bill Clinton.
Her argument is that Democrats no longer view women as secretaries, handmaids, and babymakers, but as equal partners, titans of business, and forces to be reckoned with.
Sure, Jill. That faux equality you’ve always desired has been reached and women are no longer different than men! Except we are and always will be.
This preoccupation with the unattainable is a good distraction from real problems that are prevalent in both parties.
Too often, politicians use the power they wield to cover up past indiscretions or as a license to commit new ones. This is true of Democrats. This is true of Republicans. To point the finger in only one direction may bring you a little comfort knowing that “those guys over there are the really bad ones!” but it’s just not true.
JFK. Teddy Kennedy. Bill Clinton. Anthony Weiner. Tim Murphy. Roy Moore. Blake Farenthold. Donald Trump. There are Democrats and Republicans listed together, and they don’t get separated into categories because of politics.
Because politics is the real problem. Chappaquiddick made that abundantly clear.
In the movie, Ted Kennedy returns to the bridge and scene of the incident with two trust confidants. He watches as they dive in, trying to find a way to get Mary Jo Kopechne out of the submerged car. Ted lays down on the bridge, puts his hands on his head and whispers, “I’m never going to be president.” Whether this was actually murmured is unknown, but that matters little. This was the driving force behind Kennedy’s coverup and mishandling of a very serious matter.
The same exact mentality can be applied to men in power – on both sides of the aisle – who believe their political positions absolve them of any wrongdoing and whose focus is only on whether behavior will hurt their political goals.
Democrats gloss over their own leaders’ misdeeds. So do Republicans.
Currently, we have a president whose past is filled with sexual escapades and language that we would rightly criticize a Democrat for. But remember, Trump has an (R) next to his name, so an eager electorate looked past all that. No, he’s not Ted Kennedy. He didn’t leave a woman to die in a submerged vehicle, but isn’t it amazing how two things can be wrong at the same time?
If you don’t think so, you’re no better than Democratic apologist Jill Filipovic eager to say her side has learned their lesson.
I wish I could say that the political world doesn’t entice the arrogant, but it does. Ambition is a powerful weapon that works to stealthily soften wrongdoing and confuse the truth, all for the sake of reaching a lofty goal.
Chappaquiddick teaches us that too often, the pull of politics replaces integrity.
Yes, the movie focuses on one political side. But in real life, the lesson is non-partisan.
Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.