There’s been a lot of worthy – and some not so worthy – reflections on the life of Edward Kennedy. While I am not an admirer of the man or his family, I also believe it is fitting to reflect on positive aspects of his life at the time of his passing. Many of his colleagues have praised his skill and diligence as a legislator, one of the highest compliments a public official could hope for.
At the same time, it is also important to look soberly upon the private life of this public figure, if we care about a realistic understanding of who he was.
We all have all failed and made mistakes, and wrestle with our own difficult challenges. Growth and redemption – on multiple levels – is available to all. The question is whether one grabs hold of and fights to realize these opportunities.
His defenders say Kennedy most certainly did, while the critics contend otherwise.
- Here’s a relatively generous piece by staunch conservative George F. Will in the Washington Post, who writes that on balance, Kennedy’s life was positive. Beyond that, Will asserts Ted may have even become the most consequential Kennedy.
- And a more skeptical take by Dominc Lawson of the Sunday Times, who evaluates the decedent’s life as a “gruesomely public display of emotional neediness.” Some interesting historical context by Lawson as well, on the topic of the personal lives of significant figures on the Left.
- Jonah Goldberg, in the online pages of National Review, writes that liberals celebrate Ted Kennedy for “never abandoning his fundamental principles.” Neither should conservatives in the current health care debate, in spite of potential sympathy-infused arguments from Democrats, says the author.
I’ll leave it at that for now on Kennedy. On a related note, it appears his widow, Vicki Kennedy, may be tapped to assume the now vacant Senate seat from Massachusetts despite her possible reluctance.