Bob T. just sent me an article by Mark Steyn about how news people are airbrushing the Chappaquiddick incident out of the national consciousness. Overall I think Stein’s point is pretty lame: when Ronald Reagan died, not a lot of people made note of the fact that he started his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, MS (where Civil Rights workers had been murdered in 1964), that he once called Jefferson Davis a hero, or that he was a big supporter of pro-apartheid South Africa. As a public figure, these things were certainly fair game, but to bring them up would have been in poor taste during his funeral. Furthermore, Steyn is just flat wrong. It doesn’t get much more mainstream than ABC News, and here is a pretty comprehensive piece they did on Kopechne shortly after Kennedy died.
Ted Kennedy made a series of horrific decisions 40 years ago, and I certainly think that plenty of people have every right to not forgive him for it. It will always be a part of his legacy, regardless of what Steyn believes, and it almost certainly prevented him from ever making a viable run at the Presidency. But keep in mind, this was his funeral, and it is not customary to rip someone as they are riding down the street in a hearse, even if they were a jerk. It’s kind of tacky.
But it brings up an interesting question: who is more deserving of our forgiveness, Ted Kennedy or Michael Vick? Vick did something awful, and it was cold and calculated. At the same time, it involved animals and not humans. Kennedy, on the other hand, made a series of awful decisions and it resulted in a dead young woman. He got drunk, he drove a young woman who wasn’t his wife towards her hotel. He drove off a bridge. He emerged alive but decided not to call for help and instead “sleep it off”. While not as calculated as Vick’s situation, it was perhaps even colder. But it was passive and not aggressive. Vick killed dogs with his bare hands. Kennedy certainly did not intend to kill Mary Jo Kopechne, but he left her to die after he made a decision to sleep it off instead of diving down or calling for help. So I am curious as to what you guys think: who is more deserving of our forgiveness?