Posted by toni-s on:
I once stood behind Ted Kennedy in a long line at the Kennedy airport. He was a very large man, and given his stature and public position, he could have requested and received special attention and privileges. He stood quietly and patiently with the rest of us waiting for his turn at the counter.
Listening this morning, to an NPR discussion about the career of Ted Kennedy, many commentators mentioning his many legislative accomplishments, one person called in to mention Chappaquiddick. The way the caller referred to this incident, was as if one spectacular failure in lifetime, was enough to negate the part of the life that was lived well, and was studded with worthwhile work. It is interesting that people who see themselves as guardians of the morality of our society seem to focus exclusively on the moments of failure, and behave as if that were the only thing that matters.
Without knowing the heart of another person, how does one know enough to condemn them for one or two significant failures in life, without knowing what might have gone on inside the mind, heart and conscience of the "guilty" person. Whether there was regret, shame, penance, forgiveness or rehabilitation. It is a narrow and harsh judgement to reduce a life so public and so filled with accomplishment to a one-dimensional condemnation.
Any life lived in private or public, deserves a look and evaluation that makes room failure and success. A fair evaluation should include a full look at the life being remembered, and a realistic dose of compassion for the difficulty of living as many years as Ted Kennedy lived. I honor him for his many successes and I allow that no life is without sobering and regrettable failures.