Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Miracle of Moral Relativism

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)

"I'm more than willing to go off decorum to ensure THIS MAN is not beatified. Sorry, he destroyed lives. And he knew it." - Moonie Times scribbler Andrew "Not so" Breitbart on Twitter

The death last Tuesday night of Senator Ted Kennedy has unleashed a lot of pent-up hatred of not just the late senator and his historic legacy but against all victories hard-won by the liberal lawmaker over nearly a half a century in the Senate. In the last day and a half, we've heard it all: Leftists clinging to Kennedy's bloated corpse in order to keep the health care bill afloat; Teddy's daddy being a bootlegger; and, of course, Chappaquiddick.

How soon right wingers forget about the blood- and shit-stained legacies of the forebears of their own heroes. Thank the Good Lord for moral relativism! Huzza!

While it may be true that Edward Kennedy's father was a bootlegger, what they seem to forget was that, A) it still has nothing to do with Kennedy's legacy in the Senate, B) Ted Kennedy was less than two years old by the time Prohibition was repealed C) Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. was a lifelong Republican.

The biggest point that ought to be brought up is D.

Personally, I'd rather have a senator representing my state whose father was a bootlegger than a chief executive who used Daddy's money to steal an election and whose father's father was a Nazi financier who made enough money for Adolph Hitler to buy and make armaments that would go on to kill American soldiers. I'd also rather have in the Senate a man who spent a lifetime in public service to make amends for one tragic mistake than have as a president an incurious intellectual bulimic whose grandfather made money off concentration camp slave labor, tried to overthrow the government in a fascist coup and later lined his pockets with that slave labor money when his trust fund kicked in and would never find the cajones to decry his grandfather's seditious shortcomings.

Prescott Bush was the kind of villain you'd see in a Robert Ludlum or Ian Fleming novel. Like Kennedy's father, he would later bury his criminal past in public honors and public service, eventually becoming a United States Senator himself while the press dutifully never once mentioned his attempted fascist coup in 1933 that would've involved right wing industrialist buddies like Remington (who would've supplied the arms to millions of disaffected WW I veterans).

The press's silence was understandable. After all, part of the coup's strategy was to bribe the editors of 25 of the biggest newspapers in America and one can only assume that during Bush's candidacy the bribe money kept flowing.

Prescott Bush, despite being named by Gen. Smedley Butler, the man who would've led this ragtag army to help depose Franklin Delano Roosevelt, never once saw the inside of a federal courtroom nor ever had to testify before a Congress of which he would in less than 20 years time become a large part.

Accountability, or the lack of it, is a two-edged sword, and these right wing shit smears beneath Rush Limbaugh's and Andrew Breitbart's tortured BVD's ought to heed that lesson.

The rage, rage coming from the right that we're hearing against Kennedy really has nothing to do with Chappaquiddick. It has more to do with Kennedy successfully defeating losing, hateful, spiteful GOP agendas and policies and showing them up for the evil that they were. In voting on historic civil rights, immigration, educational, national security and health care issues, to name but a few, Senator Kennedy wasn't merely a man who had lived in history but one who made history as someone always near the very center of power in Washington, a man to whom Richard M. Nixon would personally extend a health care compromise.

But red-lensed moral relativism makes all the difference to those who weren't even alive or old enough to follow the news when Kennedy walked away from the scene of an accident that left a young woman dead. It may be true that perhaps Kennedy should've been impeached and thrown out of the Senate as a result of his crime. But if that had happened, who knows who would've succeeded him and Head Start perhaps wouldn't exist. Edward M. Kennedy, instead of being regarded an unpunished villain, ought to serve as a example of the value of giving a person a second chance.

The Bush clan had plenty of chances to make good, to make amends, to right the wrongs of their forebears. Ted Kennedy took his second chance and remained, with the ongoing blessings of the grateful voters of Massachusetts, in the Senate for another 40 years, justifying the second chance that fate gave him. The Bushes, far from making amends, entered public service to enrich themselves, to add a superficial patina of glitz and respectability to hide a subversive, corrupt, seditious past and present that merely served to shield them from accountability for their own crimes.

Mary Jo Kopechne's name is more famous than the names of any soldier that has died in Iraq or Afghanistan, even more of a household name than NFL safety Pat Tillman. Yet when George W. Bush's time comes, no one will bring up the names of some of the first casualties of his successful invasion and occupation but failed war in Iraq that was built on a dog-eared house of cards made up entirely of jokers. No one even on the left will bring up the names of Staff Sgt. Donald C. May, Jr., Lance Cpl. Patrick T. O'Day and Pfc. Francisco A. Martinez-Flores. Those three Marines died in exactly the same way Mary Jo Kopechne died when their tank drove off a bridge and plunged into the Euphrates less than a week after the invasion.

In the balance, I'd rather have a man like Ted Kennedy representing me and my interests than the scion of a long line of war criminals and profiteers who combined never had to face one tenth the accountability that Ted Kennedy endures even in death.


At August 27, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Anonymous Diva said...

Perfect, fucking perfect!

Teddy stood tall, didn't he, JP? A Lion, indeed.

At August 27, 2009 at 10:45 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

And, like Androcles' lion, the right wingers are but a thorn in his paw.

At August 27, 2009 at 12:11 PM, Blogger WereBear said...

That's the way to counterpunch.

Sweet and to the point.

At August 27, 2009 at 12:33 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

My buddy Mike doesn't fuck around.

At August 27, 2009 at 1:41 PM, Blogger Marquis Fleur said...

Bravo. Bravo.

At August 27, 2009 at 3:10 PM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I should like to add The (intemperate) thanks of a grateful nation.

At August 27, 2009 at 8:22 PM, Blogger Cossack said...

Odd how some memes never die. I just had an exchange where I was hit with the "More people died at Chappaquiddick than at Three Mile Island." After I enlightened the idjit who came up with this that that was demonstrably incorrect, all he could say is, "Well, you know what I mean." I said, No, what did you mean? "Well Teddy let a girl die and got away with it." When I pointed out that neither Shrub, nor Darth Cheney, nor Rice have even been bothered with an investigation for the wars they instigated which have led to the deaths of over 5,000 Americans and Dog only knows how many 100s of thousands (if not million or more) Afghanis and Iraqis, that was "different". I also pointed out that a certain Laura Bush (nee Welch) had committed a vehicular homicide by running a stop sign and she, like Teddy, got off scot free. Again, no comment.

At August 27, 2009 at 9:42 PM, Blogger daveawayfromhome said...

One thing that I think was important about Kennedy is that he didnt act like the poor were so because they deserved to be. It's one of those things that Republicans cannot forgive him for (nor a fair number of Democrats).

At August 28, 2009 at 5:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was gonna stay out of all the baiting happening on the web regarding Kennedy,Mary Jo Kopechne,etc.....But....

I'll chime in. It's good that Edward Kennedy did a number of admirable things during the interim..We need more folks in government attempting to accomplish the goals he supported and initiated.But that's where my admiration stops. Others have noted the wingnuts don't genuinely give a shit about Mary Jo Kopechne, and they're right.(No pun intended)...Come to think of it,I don't think anyone gives a shit about Mary Jo Kopechne. One is a very lonely number...So consequently,we're reduced to arguing over your hero is worse than mine blah,blah,blah..I fucking hate hero worship. Like children,Americans gotta have their hero's. It's all so fucking puerile. Hell....The majority of Americans never outgrow their belief in God--whom is just as real as the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. Hero worship....It's the root cause for a lot of shit. So is a belief in religion.

I just can't bring myself to describe any politician as a genuine hero. I'll reserve such an attribute as lion for someone such as FDR. Or use Gen. Smedley Butler as an example of how one could be genuinely described as a hero.

In the mean time...Please continue the your rich political scion vs my rich political scion meme. Perhaps Disney or Faux will license the arrangement in time for the sweeps?

I just can't lionize Ted Kennedy...And..In my opinion,a hero is nothing more than a sandwich..Oh, if I've offended the religious amongst us.....You'll have to forgive me.

At August 28, 2009 at 9:17 AM, Anonymous bjacques said...

Excellent post! If Teddy Kennedy was not hero, he was certainly a good man. If "all" he did was try to atone for negligent homicide 40 years ago, then I wish more did that kind of atonement. He did his brothers proud and kept at the work they never had the chance to finish (Joe Jr. died in WWII, so yes that counts).

Teddy Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne's family made their peace 40 years ago, but the right kept dragging her skeleton around to wave at Teddy's every feast. Those Chappaquiddick jokes must have really makes her family feel just great. Had she lived, the right would have cursed her. She was a campaign worker for Bobby, who ran on the left side of the Democratic Party. Had they gotten across the bridge safely, Teddy might have become President in 1972, making Nixon a single-term president, giving the right another reason to hate him.

Well done, Senator, and a belated thanks.

At August 28, 2009 at 9:29 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

William Rivers Pitt made some of the same points that my alter ego Mikey made, especially when he wrote this:

"Would we as a nation have been better off if Kennedy's political career had been derailed by his own shortcomings and tremendous mistakes? There are some who will surely say this is so, and they have every right to that opinion. Without Ted Kennedy in the Senate, however, the nation may well have never seen the passage of bills like the Immigration and Nationality Act, the National Cancer Act, the COBRA Act, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the Civil Rights Act (1991), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Mental Health Parity Act, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act..."

I'll take atonement for one stupid, tragic, needless, avoidable mistake over anyone who only perpetuates their family's legacy of evil.

At August 28, 2009 at 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't they name a DC airport after the Butcher of Salvador?

At August 28, 2009 at 9:26 PM, Blogger Greg Salvatore said...

A great post. I must stand and applaud.

At August 29, 2009 at 2:32 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

What I find the most remarkable and admirable about Sen. Kennedy's conduct in the last year of his life was that he wasn't concerned about his own illness as much as he was about the illness of his fellow Americans.

By stark contrast, Republicans enjoying the same health care that Kennedy did seem hell-bent on denying most Americans an option that even approaches what they have, as if quality, affordable health care is a privilege rather than an inalienable right.


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