RIP Teddy Kennedy

{{w|Ted Kennedy}}, Senator from Massachusetts.
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When you’re an Irish Catholic growing up in New England in the 1960’s and 1970’s, you’re going to have a certain affinity with the huge Kennedy clan.  And that’s true even if you don’t fully embrace the politics.

While I was too young to remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I do remember the collection of books and magazine tributes my mother kept.  Basically, a ton of them.  Then Bobby Kennedy was taken in 1968, and the aura and the weight of the tragedy became part of the fabric.

Ted Kennedy, the youngest and at often times very irresponsible, became the one who would fully carry the mantle.  I’d say that he carried it in a manner worthy of the whole legacy of the family, albeit with a couple of huge scars that many conveniently forgot.

My first memories of him as the lead story are tied into Chappaquiddick.  I still don’t – no one knows – what happened that horrible night.  But I do say that  Ted Kennedy should be judged by that as he should be judged by the rest of his life.

And from what I’m reading that the rest of his life – or at least his work as a Senator is beyond impressive.  I say that as someone who would often disagree with his politics.  In a time of extreme partisanship, he was able to work with members of the other party, Orrin Hatch and John McCain, to name two, to fashion legislation that both maintain his principles and get passed.

Today we’ve got too many hard left and hard right types that seem to want to not give in.  That doesn’t mean that they’re sticking to principle; it means they’d rather score political points to screw the oppositon.

What’s struck me from all the accolades is that so many of people are coming out with stories of Kennedy’s kindness.  Phone calls to people who have a sick relative.  Adding a personal touch to the semantics of daily life.

So, yes, Ted Kennedy is a symbol of a bygone era.  An era where bipartisanship was used to produce a better government and a better American life.  And it’s that type of service that served as the foundation for my own idealism, ironically forged in part by reading and looking at those books and magazines my mother collected so long ago.  They made me proud to be an American (and an Irish Catholic to boot!).

RIP, Ted Kennedy, and thank you for your service to our country.

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Defending John McCain

In my last post, I went after those that unfairly trash Barack Obama.

As I read the tweets from various people on Twitter and read the posts from various left wing blogs, I once again can reaffirm my belief that political left can be as vicious as the political right.

John McCain has been accused of being a racist, a traitor, abusive toward women, corrupt, and literally, not an American.  I’ve had three people on Twitter continually spew out hate filled Tweets about the man, much of it was rehashed half truths or twisted thoughts about the man.  Just as we see with those that oppose Barack Obama, we know see with the same with John McCain.  We’ve got people who will take any rumor or anything slightly derogatory and treat is as the gospel truth as long at is against the person they now have come to hate.

I’ve seen people try to portray McCain as someone who’s betrayed his own country and his fellow prisoners because he broke under torture from his captors in Vietnam.  I can’t imagine the horror of going through all of that for 5 1/2 hours let alone 5 1/2 years.  McCain, at first, had it easier than his fellow prisoners and was offered early release as a propaganda piece by the North Vietnamese.  He refused, keeping in accordance with the principle that those that first captured should get first release.  Upon this decision, McCain’s treatment became horrendous.  You can bet that his self-righteous critics, safely sitting in their living rooms blogging or twittering about how he betrayed his fellow prisoners, wouldn’t be able to stand a day enduring what McCain had to go through.

Not only do those that attack McCain on this twist history to meet their hate filled diatribes, they also ignore McCain’s brave opposition to the Bush Administration’s policy of using torture on prisoners from thw wars that we are currently having.  That, of course, doesn’t surprise me.

I’ve also seen McCain attacked because of his involvement in the Keating 5 scandal.  What he essentially did was attend a meeting called together by his fellow Arizona senator Dennis DeConcini – a Democrat who I almost worked for – on behalf of a prominent Arizona businessman, Charles Keating.  Now, Keating and McCain were friends and Keating had given McCain plenty of money in campaign contributions.  They had spent time together socially.  But in this meeting, it became clear that Keating wanted McCain to so something that was clearly unethical. Unlike, DeConcini, McCain angrily refused.  For this, his name was dragged through the mud and permanently tainted.

Many thought at the time, including me, that the Democrats wanted to spread the scandal around to include McCain because they wanted to have at least one Republican as part of it.  In doing so, they trashed two Democrats, John McCain and Don Reigle who were largely innocent as well.

What kills me is that many of the people who attack McCain about the Keating 5 had no clue of what the whole episode was about.  They probably hadn’t heard of it beforehand and certainly couldn’t name the other four.  But then again in politics, when you’re attacking someone, learning about what you’re saying isn’t important.  Attacking is.

Whether or not John McCain ends up becoming president of the United States or not is not the issue of this post.  The issue of this post is that John McCain is a great American who has sacrificed and served his country more than any of his critics could imagine.

Race and morons

I didn’t intend this new blog to be an angry platform, but we’re in the last week of the election and I have to get this off my chest.

This post may have been more appropriate a few weeks ago. Maybe a month ago. Now it appears that we may be on the verge of electing the first African American a president of the United States. That hasn’t happened yet, and anything can happen. Including some dangerous things as we found out today. But a week from today Barack Obama will likely become president-elect.

A few disclosures first. I like John McCain. I’m politically equidistant between John McCain and Barack Obama. This is the first presidential election where I was sort of enthusiastic about BOTH candidates. For different reasons of course. So this post is not an anti-McCain diatribe. For that matter, I wouldn’t have any major problem with John McCain being the next president of the United States. Like Colin Powell, I believe both candidates are qualified, excellent candidates.

What got me concerned was that I heard for the umpteenth time that someone (a white person) wasn’t going to vote for Barack Obama because 1) “he’ll be only for the blacks” or 2) “if he’s elected, blacks will think they own the place”. I’ve heard this all A LOT…much too often. It wasn’t about issues – health care, Iraq, education, the economy, global warming. It had nothing to do with John McCain – he wasn’t even mentioned in these person’s points. No, it wasn’t anything related about substance.

It was strictly about race. Continue reading Race and morons