Friday, August 28, 2009
Ted Kennedy died on Tuesday from brain cancer. I was a huge fan. I am however wary of how people are often over glorified after their death so I'm not going to rant on like he was some sort of messiah. One of the reasons I was such a admirer was his image as opposed to what he did. He was the youngest Kennedy brother and if I can just be a little romantic for a moment, what a cool clan they were. He was also an iconic Irish American and not just a plastic paddy. In the early days of his political career he could be accused of naivety toward the Irish problem often appearing to over simplify the Northern Irish conflict by making lazy minded pro nationalist statements. Readers of Gubu World will know that I am fiercely critical of people who act more Palestinian than the Palestinians, more Israeli than the Israelis and more Irish than the Irish. However Ted Kennedy ultimately did not fall into this trap. He was a passionate supporter of John Hume and moderate nationalism. He fiercely opposed IRA violence. I will always remember how he snubbed Gerry Adams in the wake of the Robert McCartney murder. This in a post troubles time when Gerry Adams was seen as a mainstream and even popular figure whom even George Bush was prepared to meet. But Ted Kennedy judged the situation correctly and realised that Sinn Fein were hesitating when it came to pressurising the IRA to end criminality. He also realised that the continued existence of the IRA was an obstacle to peace and he called for the complete disbandment of the organisation. Not long afterward, Sinn Fein and the IRA did what needed to be done and devolution followed. Ted Kennedy in his last trip to Ireland in 2007 attended the ceremony in Stormount that saw the power sharing government successfully returned to power.
This photo was taken in 1962 when the Kennedy's were at the height of their power. Elder brother John was President, Bobby was attorney general and this photos is from the night Ted Kennedy became a senator by taking the Massachusetts seat which became available when his brother was elected President.
America is a very divided country. The divide between the liberal left and conservative right can often be vicious. But somehow Ted Kennedy managed to be unapologetically liberal yet not detested by the right. I'm not sure how he managed this. But it was evident from the many tributes and even the funeral itself which was attended by George Bush, John McCain and other republicans. Below is a sample of the tributes including President Obama's eulogy.
Former President Carter
And an excellent tribute