Ted Kennedy & Orestes

I read the story of this family – of greatness, human failure, tragedy – as though Euripides got to write his grand, tragic take on American history. Spare me the reflexive disdain – and the reflexive hagiography – for him, his brothers and his parents. But it would be out of his family’s character somehow for him to come to his end quietly and without suffering.

I’m sorry for him – I can only imagine the horror at a diagnosis like this – and for his family, whose love I hope will comfort him.

He may not have been the greatest Senator we’ve had in the nation, but he has been a notable one, and he has dedicated his life to service. So here’s an appreciation of him, and a thank you from me and my family.

Update: For a very human response and a crushing personal story, go see Steve Smith’s blog.

7 thoughts on “Ted Kennedy & Orestes”

  1. How is Ted Kennedy Orestes? Orestes killed his mother, who had killed his father, who had killed his sister …

    How about Paris, the much-less-distinguished kid brother of the great Hector – two Hectors, in this case?

    I think Euripides could have written a great tragedy about the Kennedys, and its theme would be the folly of dynastic ambitions in a democratic nation, and the mutual agonies that each inflicts on the other.

    The Kennedy saga had good aspects. With no bitterness to them, I say it had no place in a country where human beings are meant to be equal and self-sustaining, and we would all be better off if it had never happened. The country and the Kennedys both. It was partly their fault, partly our fault. Enough with the beautiful saviors.

    You’re right to recognize his senate career. After the dream was debunked, he buckled down and dedicated himself to being a senator, doing his duty as he saw it. It wasn’t duty as I saw it, or even as many Democrats saw it, but it was meant to be.

  2. I think there’s a parallel to the house of Orestes, but I won’t argue it on this sad occasion.

    Since Ted Kennedy’s prospects of survival seem remote, let him beat the odds, but if he can’t beat the odds may he face his fate with all the fortitude a man can have, strengthened by his family, friends and clients from a lifetime of public service. And may his bereaved family have abundant healing, soon.

  3. Every single position the man took ran counter to my beliefs. I wouldn’t wish his current situation on my worst enemy, but I’m not going to thank him for his service either.

    If there was some way he could get well and get out, I’d be all for it.

  4. Have to agree with BillB. His current illness is a terrible shame and I do hope he recovers (it is survivable, apparently, though low percentage).

    However, if he were not a Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick accident had not occurred in Massachusetts, he may well have spent 15-25 years in jail, not in the Senate.

    In addition, while some may admire his “dedication” to causes and the elitist liberal agenda, he is not a person to be admired. His character has so many flaws, it is amazing that he kept being elected to the Senate (other than he is a Kennedy in MA).

    Anyway, I wish him the best in beating the tumor, but wish he would step down regardless.

    Mike K.
    (from Massachusetts)

  5. Like or dislike his Senate career, he hasn’t just phoned it in (as one might say of the last and the likely-upcoming Presidential candidates from Kennedy’s party.) Bottom line, I think he is a deeply flawed but honorable man (and that honor may have been harder to come by than it would have been for others, all things considered) so if he succumbs, it will be a loss for the body politic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>