May 23rd, 2008 06:07 EST
Mary Jo Kopechne: America Must Never Forget
As news of Ted Kennedy`s malignant tumor was made public, prominent people from all across the nation, including President Bush, Senator Robert Bird, and others, expressed shock, grief, and deep sorrow at the fate that has befallen the senator from Massachusetts.
Partisan politics have no place when an individual of Senator Kennedy`s stature faces a diagnosis that usually portends death. The senator deserves all of the encouragement and respect that one would afford a member of one`s own family in a similar situation.
When Senator Kennedy`s days are over, the liberal media will no doubt launch a campaign to confer sainthood on the lifetime public servant. His Herculean efforts on behalf of women, minorities, the disadvantaged, and the disenfranchised will be chronicled over and over again.
Which is as it should be. Senator Kennedy, for better or worse, has been a major political figure in the United States for nearly 50 years, going back to 1962 when he won brother John Fitzgerald`s Senate seat, vacated by JFK`s election to the presidency in 1960.
But while Kennedy`s longevity and public service are worthy of memorializing, the complete story of this man must not be whitewashed to omit the "Chappaquiddick incident," which is described as follows at Wikipedia:
"In 1969, Edward Kennedy drove a car off a bridge into the channel between Chappaquiddick Island and Martha`s Vineyard. Kennedy managed to escape, but his passenger, campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned in the submerged car. Kennedy left the scene of the accident and did not call authorities until the following day. Kennedy pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a suspended sentence of two months in jail."
In order to be complete, the Ted Kennedy story must include these vital questions:
Why did this man, renowned for helping the under dog, abandon Mary Jo Kopechne as she was drowning?
And, how was this powerful and rich man able to avoid justice for his role in ending the life of a 29-year old campaign worker?
The ghost of Mary Jo Kopechne will haunt Senator Ted Kennedy in life and in death, forever.
Which is as it should be.