Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Personal Reflection

In the coming weeks and months I am sure there will be a lot said about Senator Ted Kennedy and his legacy. As a child of the 60's generation that watched the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and then his brother Robert it is hard to explain what it means to possibly lose this last of the three princes of our time.

Yes, they were by no means perfect. Though I certainly thought so when I attended my first political rally with my mother and got to shake John Kennedy's hand. And when I watched his brutal murder over and over and over again it seemed like a fairy tale with a horrid ending.

Later when I moved to Washington, D.C to try and effect change in our political direction through work within the system I was lucky enough to be hired by Senator Charles Goodall, who had been appointed to fill the term left vacant, and work with the team of young people that had been Senator Robert Kennedy's staff. It was there I first met Senator Ted Kennedy. And during my brief time in the nation's capital I would have more exchanges with him and his staff.

I came to judge political leaders by the nature of the loyalty of their staff. Not the insane goose stepping of the staff of President Nixon but loyalty to the man (or woman) and the direction they were taking - and leading the country. Political integrity is not a phrase you see a lot these days. It seems that we believe every political leader is bought by the time he takes office. But in the 60's and early 70's there were some amazing leaders with political integrity that inspired loyalty. You may not have always believed in the stands they were taking but you could acknowledge that they had taken that position for all the right reasons. We need more of those.

And we need them today. Seldom has our country been in such dire straights and I believe we are there because we started electing politicians and not statesmen to positions of trust in our government. We need people that vote their conscious and believe what they are doing is for the good of all the people of the United States and for the citizens of the world.

You hear a lot these days about global economy but not a lot about global integrity. Or integrity period. Senator John McCain said that Senator Ted Kennedy was one of the last liberal lions of the U.S.Senate. Liberal, conservative or moderate I believe he is one of the last great members of our congressional body with political integrity. What does that say about our country?