Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Passing of a Time


I had the opportunity in my life to meet all three of the Kennedy brothers: Jack, Robert and Ted. My mother was Democratic precinct chairwoman when Jack F Kennedy was first campaigning for President.

I met Robert when I was working on his political campaign for President.

And Ted I knew while putting together a symposium on defense spending when working for the National Council of Churches in Washington. DC.

In my two years of seeing if I could make the government work from the inside out (the anti-Vietnam-War era) I met and mingled with a lot of the Washington movers and shakers. I started on the staff of Senator Charles Goodell appointed to replace the assassinated Senator Robert Kennedy. A former Republican conservative congressman he became a liberal Senator and joined with Senator Jacob Javits on an amendment to end the conflict in Vietnam.

I got to see a lot of the inner workings of our government and to know that it certainly has the capacity to work correctly given men of high moral conviction and sense of service, and an involved populace that takes the time to become informed on the issues and write to let their representatives in Washington know their views.

I developed a yardstick by which to measure the elected: The devotion of their staffs. The staff people get to know them best. Senator Goodell had inherited Robert Kennedy's staff and they were devoted to his memory and to his successor. President Richard Nixon's staff was devoted but on the level of Hitler's inner circle: blind devotion. Ted Kennedy's staff was devoted. And they were good people. They did not cheat at soft ball (there was a capital hill league).

I came to respect the opinions of legislators who I felt were in government service for all the right reasons. And reporters that felt obligated to report the truth. There are a lot of good men I knew but briefly that are gone now: Goodell, Javits, Novak, Buckley, Cronkite, and Jack, Robert and Ted. And until President Obama I felt there is nobody to carry on properly and vote their conscious. And if that is the case we doomed.

But I like to think God abhors a vacuum and the leaders of this new era we so desperately need to survive as a nation and people have just yet to be identified.