Today as we swim through the flotsam and murk squirted from octopi embodied by the tortured rhetoric of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, et al.; people who troll our culture, the blind seeking the bottom, we must stop, raise our spirit and listen to the light that diminished on this day, one year ago.
I was fifteen when President Kennedy was murdered. I was 20 when Martin Luther King was wrenched from our view and 20 again when (soon to be President) Robert Kennedy was killed. Each time I remember exactly where I was. Most people my age have those moments etched within their hearts. They are our generation's tattoos seared into our collective soul. And now I will remember the day when Senator Ted Kennedy finally moved forward, unwound from his "mortal coil." I read press reports that said he had the chance to say goodbye to his family and loved ones, finally saying he was ready to go. I thank God that Senator Kennedy was given grace in a most profound moment.
I greeted my wife at the airport the day of Senator Kennedy's death immersed in the sad news of his passing. I was sure that she had not heard, flying from Amsterdam to New York. I was right. We both had the same thought. Now that Senator Kennedy is gone, our youth has finally died with him. It was Robert Patrick, an enormously gifted playwright, who coined the phrase Kennedy's Children, the name of his wonderful play. I wonder if Senator Edward Kennedy knew how many children he truly had; how far his clan actually extended. What is most amazing is his remarkable journey; how far he had traveled lifted by privilege, burdened by profound adversity.
I do not wish to make the Kennedy brothers saints. That would not honor their memory. They had many character deficits and made many mistakes - some were egregious errors, resulting in the decimation of others. One need not gloss over these events when remembering the Kennedy brothers. After all, can any of us say we have not deeply hurt someone else, whether intentional or not?
But let's be frank - when was the last time you heard anyone passionately plead and goad their colleagues into supporting a simple idea of a living wage or universal health care or civil rights - just a few of the multitude of abodes in which Senator Ted Kennedy comfortably lived. Most likely, if you heard it at all in the past 20 years, it was Ted Kennedy's powerful baritone lighting up the room in such a way. He didn't have to have a camera pointing at him or a microphone recording him to feel profoundly or to fervently express that justice was intended for all.
During the last Presidential election, I was thrilled to know that my Goddaughter might have a chance to inhale that same feeling of unlimited possibility that I had at a similar age when John F. Kennedy was elected President, in the person of our current President, Barack Obama. She was 16 and she will vote for the first time when Mr. Obama runs again for office. There is a lot of her in this country. I pray that her generation gets the opportunity to soar. Now that prayer is threatened by pretenders. They play with passion and righteousness. They prey upon our fears, insecurities, and xenophobia, which must be cultivated as carefully as a delicate rose. We cannot tell where is heaven where is earth and cannot see the North Star. We have vanished.
It is well known that when the body gets sick, toxins must be released and transformed. We are ill. People ask who will heal us? Who will stand up and speak the truth? Who will love the world as we love our newly born souls? For whom do we wait? We await us.
The dispossessed had Kennedy brothers fighting for them for more than 50 years. How unexpected. How joyous. Thank you.