Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy: What if …?

Senator Ted Kennedy passed away on Tuesday August 25, 2009. I read some of the praise remarks of the late Senator. The one I remember best is the “Lion of the Senate.” I think a more apt description for Senator Kennedy is the “Lion of the Left.”

I have also read some of the comments by some of my fellow Conservatives which can be summed up in the invective goodbye of “Good Riddance.” Amazingly some more vile words were used as well.

I was no fan or friend of Ted Kennedy; nonetheless my fellow Conservatives who detest Leftist ideology you should respect a man who spent much of his adult life serving the United States as an elected Senator from Massachusetts.

I was about seven years old when President JFK was assassinated. I was about twelve years old when Senator RFK was assassinated. My lower working class family was staunch Democrats believing that President FDR saved America and American people from jobless poverty of The Depression. It did not matter if there were moral or political differences with Democrats. All that mattered was Joe Working American had work and thus food to put on the table.

I would even venture to say that my family could give a hoot about politics in general. The man that enabled Americans to work and take care of his family was a Democrat; ergo every President my family voted for was a Democrat. Mom would not talk about it but I bet she even voted for McGovern.

What I am getting at is that it was engrained into me the Kennedys were Democrats and hence of the line of the saviors of the American worker. Because of this familial attitude, an emerging affinity to politics in general and my impressionable youth; I too was a bastion of the Democrat Left with a huge appreciation of (neoconservative) Democratic Party Hawks like Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson. My admiration of Jackson was to be the evidence of my current Republican Neocon slant in politics.

Nonetheless, from ages twelve (1968) through nineteen (1976 and Carter) I was an altruistic ideologue Leftist.

Then the first President I was eligible to vote for – Jimmy Carter – turned out to be an indecisive idiot. How in the world could a Democrat President manage the American economy into despair and allow America to have the air of a decrepit paper tiger abroad?

The 1980 election campaign approached. And as if Sir Lancelot came on his horse to save the honor of the Democratic Party, Senator Ted Kennedy decided to challenge the incompetent incumbent President Carter. Man as a young Leftist I was drooling. Unfortunately my fellow Democrats did not overwhelmingly share my Kennedy adoration.

Before Senator Kennedy announced his candidacy the opinion polls placed huge favor on Kennedy above the incumbent Carter. Unfortunately as the campaign came into full swing, Carterites were able to use trust issues because of the Chappaquiddick scandal that Senator Kennedy was involved in on July 18, 1969.

Was Ted drunk? Was married Roman Catholic Ted having an affair with Mary Jo Kopechne? Was there a sex act being performed before Ted ran the car into the river? Why did Ted abandon Kopechne in the submerged car swimming to safety and not call for help? Why did Ted wait until the next day to report he was the driver?

All these questions were never answered adequately probably due to big money, political familial patronage and political power in general. Kennedy’s demise to dethroning the incumbent Carter was a “Can you trust this guy?”

And so my last Democratic Party Lancelot bit the Presidential dust.

I was a confused Leftist with the choice between President Carter and Ronald Reagan. Considering my indoctrination and the Reagan Cold War rhetoric he often spoke, I thought a vote for Reagan was a vote to push buttons and launch the nuclear arsenal.

So I voted Libertarian in 1980. Thank GOD President Reagan won the day! I evolved into a Conservative.

If Senator Ted Kennedy had pulled the upset and defeated incumbent President Carter for the Democratic nomination, would I have stayed the Leftist path? As much as I despise Leftist ideology today, I cannot fathom when or if I would have become a Conservative with a President Edward Kennedy.

JRH 8/26/09

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