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I cried during the memorial for Ted Kennedy

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Yes I remember vividly the weekend of Nov 22, 1963 beginning around 1 PM on Nov 22, a Friday. I was living in Ste. Foy QC then and working for IBM Canada Ltd. But I didn’t think that much about the death of Ted Kennedy. Until I heard that CNN was televising the complete memorial event without commercial interruptions. Yes, I had a few drinks while sitting and viewing the event. But it didn’t take long before my eyes filled with tears as my mind was sucked in to all those events around the Kennedys.

Most of what was said during the memorial were recollections of a very vivid character who left deep impressions of friendship with so many people, on the political left and the right. The depth of his relations with his second wife, Vickie, surprised and touched me a lot. John McCain showed how ungraceful a character he really is, while Orrin Hatch couldn’t have been more endearing. I was moved by almost every eulogizer, even with Joe Biden‘s contribution.

There were many references to Kennedy’s passion about Health Care Reform in the US. Yes the event had a strong pro-reform coloration.

However, I feel the cold light of a new day and feel that I must copy in words that set a quite different tone about some of Kennedy’s political discourse in the past:

It is nice and good that Kennedy was able to restore a sense of decorum and gentlemanly behavior when it came to a whole host of other legislative battles, but when it came to the Bork nomination, his sense of propriety, decorum, and fair play were sorely lacking. Those who wonder how American political debate became so coarse, so unrefined, and so demagogic, ought to look at Kennedy’s speech on Bork as a catalyst for the national descent into a prolonged political shouting match.

Click on this link to read the Opinionater in the NY Times about this very negative part of Kennedy’s political record.

But the whole picture of Ted Kennedy is completed by this story and final opinion from David Frum, a fair minded right wing pundit:

Then came 9/11. Among the murdered was the brave and brilliant Barbara Olson. Ted asked some friends to help with the deluge of messages of condolence, and my wife Danielle volunteered for the job. Among the letters: a lengthy handwritten note by the senator so elegant and decent, so eloquent and (fascinatingly) written in so beautiful a hand as to revolutionize one’s opinion of the man who wrote it. It did not dishonor by ignoring or denying the political differences between the two families. It fully acknowledged them – and through them expressed a deeper human awareness of shared mortality, pain, and grief. Not all chapters of his life revealed it equally, but the senator was a big soul, and in his last years, he lived his bigness fully … Rest in peace, leader of the liberals.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/08/29 at 06:09