Armen Chakmakjian

R.I.P. Ted

In history, politics on August 27, 2009 at 5:03 am

People who know my political inclinations know that Ted Kennedy and I would have been on opposite sides of the see-saw. I never expressed much love for him mostly because of in my old liberal days (before I could vote) I held it against him that he tried to get the nomination from Carter in 1980.  And it was simple for me, at 16, to moralize that Chappaquiddik was enough a reason that he had no business running for president or stand in the senate.  (Hey I went to an all guys Catholic Prep School…we had real political discussions at lunch, we read the New York Times and Wall Street Journal during free periods).

Anyway back to Ted.  I was never a fan.  But the one thing I could say about Ted Kennedy was that even though I disagreed with him mostly, I always knew where he was going to come down on an issue.  I’d rather have a political disagreement with someone who was consistent than, lets say,  John Kerry  who could do 3 double back flips by the time he came down on both sides of an issue.

Anyway, there was a day 10 years ago that I stopped my diatribes against Ted.  After that event I might roll my eyes or harrumpf if someone advocated a position and mentioned his name, but I wouldn’t go on a tear about Mary Jo or William Kennedy Smith.  It was a scene shown on the local news live where Ted was on the boat as they pulled up the bodies of John Kennedy Jr. and his wife from the water.  They had just played the scene where John Jr saluted his father at the funeral, which always gets me teary-eyed.    Ted was on the boat, his white mane visible, as the bodies were moved onto the deck. He was identifying the bodies.  I turned to my wife and said, “No man should have to go through that.”   I never said anything bad about him after that.  I’d avoid his name and just say “The Democrats”.

Last year when word came that he had brain cancer, we had just started to be emotionally recovered from a friend who had died with the exact same condition.  I was pretty messed up from that and the news hit me hard.  We were at the dinner table and one of my sons made some offhand comment that teens say…something like “what’s the big deal?”  I turned to him and said, “He’s had enough tragedy already and no one deserves that.”

Tonight, I was watching a retrospective on his life on ABC.  They went through the controversies and then they once again played the JFK jr salute, Bobby in LA after getting shot, pictures of JFK Jr just before the crash and all kinds of pictures of the family.  I got teary-eyed once again.  I didn’t and still don’t agree with him on many things.   But I feel the loss.

R.I.P. Ted

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