August 29, 2009

Edward Kennedy 1932-2009

The passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy is cause for reflection. He has been lionized in the press as a defender of the poor, the needy, the forgotten man. Kennedy fought admirably during his life for the disabled and for civil rights. The public had largely forgiven him for his personal excesses and indiscretions.

Still, for some the praise is overdone. So painful were the Kennedy families' tragedies, played out on the national stage, that Americans, and New Englanders in particular, were all too wiling to give Teddy a pass. In 1969, the tragic death of 28-year-old Mary Joe Kopechne in Senator Kennedy's car came barely a year after the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. One wonders whether Teddy would have survived the scandal if not for the reserve of goodwill surrounding his family.

But the greatest missed opportunity of his distinguished career concerned the unborn. Prior to Roe v. Wade evidence suggests Kennedy was pro-life or at least sympathetic to the pro-life position. After Roe v. Wade, Senator Kennedy was pro-choice, turning his back on the most vulnerable of all, the unborn child.

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