Wednesday :: Aug 26, 2009

The Last Was First


by Turkana

Bumped to top of page -- Mary

When I was a teenager, in the 1970s, if you wanted to research the issue of national health care, you consulted the Congressional Record, and ended up quoting Senator Ted Kennedy. If you wanted to research alternative energy, you consulted the Congressional Record, and ended up quoting Senator Ted Kennedy. if you wanted to research labor issues, human rights, poverty, peace, immigration, and just about any other important issue, you consulted the Congressional Record, and ended up quoting Senator Ted Kennedy. He was on the cutting edge of just about every important issue for as long as I can remember. Almost always, he was right. More than any other public official of his generation, he was almost always right.

Some years ago, a story went around, after a Congressional Recess. Senator Claiborne Pell was a very wealthy man, and he had offered rides home on his private jet to Senator Kennedy and some of their fellow senators from the Northeast. When Congress returned to Washington, Kennedy sneaked into Pell's office and borrowed some of his official staionery. Kennedy then wrote letters, ostensibly in Pell's name, to each of the other senators who had been on the flight. The letters were bills for the expense. And then, just to make it worse, Kennedy went to each of the other senators, ostensibly with his own letter, and feigned outrage at Pell's supposed gall. And he showed each of the other senators what Pell supposedly had written him. And, of course, the amount of money Pell supposedly was requesting from Senator Kennedy was less than that requested from all the others. So, not only was Senator Pell seen to be charging his friends for what had seemed a friendly gesture, he also was seen to be playing favorites, by charging them more than he was charging Senator Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy wasn't just respected by his colleagues, he was loved. Eloquent, passionate, informed, and humane, we will not see his like again.

Turkana :: 8:29 AM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!