Sunday, 06 September 2009

The Dear Departed: Ted Kennedy

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Becky Akers“In 1984, just as my brother Alan … prepared himself to graduate from high school, a social worker visited our family's home,” writes T.J. Boisseau, now an associate professor of history at the University of Akron in Ohio. “She was there to explain to my parents the sorts of programs for which Alan was eligible until he turned 22 because he was mentally retarded.” Predictably, then, she “expressed surprise, and dismay” at the news of Alan’s graduation because “if he received a diploma, Alan would not be eligible for any training programs or state-sponsored support later in life.”

Boisseau says that while her family “knew Alan was ‘slow’ and had to take all ‘special’ classes,” they never thought of him as retarded. So you might suppose that they would require evidence more compelling than a social worker’s biased opinion before disavowing Alan’s achievement. But no. Instead, his mother “immediately contacted the school principal to put a halt on the processing of Alan's diploma.”

That gentleman refused, as did the “superintendent of schools and school committee.” Boisseau darkly attributes that to the constraints of the tiny budget in her small hometown of Ayer, Massachusetts. She’s probably right. And though she implies that those constraints are immoral, she never explains why expecting the State to rob her neighbors for her brother’s education isn’t.

At any rate, the plot to undermine Alan’s dignity found another, far more powerful conspirator: Senator Ted Kennedy.

Yeah, I know: the late sot is last month’s news, thank goodness. You were sick of hearing about his endless escapades even before death and the media transmuted him into St. Edward. His canonization since has had you retching. You itched to erect a flagpole in your front yard just so you could fly Old Glory at full staff.

Indeed, we all despise him for killing Mary Jo Kopechne. (Though some might shrug that after all, she’d worked to put Teddy’s totalitarian brother Robert in power over us. Besides, who accepts a ride from a notorious drunk?) Compounding his manslaughter is the get-out-of-jail-free card his name and political status granted him. Then there’s his communism and the media’s collusion: mainstream reporters almost always pretend that compassion for the poor, rather than a lust for power, motivated his Marxism. Meanwhile, enough of the twaddle that Kennedy “served” Americans for 47 years. Instead, we served him — lavishly. I’ll leave it to the mathematicians to figure out precisely how many of our taxes his stint as senator squandered, but a simple calculation of 47 years at the current congressional take of $174,000 per annum yields $8,178,000 — let alone staff and entourage, travel, luxurious offices, a pension for his widow, and innumerable other goodies.

Yet we who loathe Leviathan should thank the senator for so magnificently proving our argument. Of course, virtually all politicians do, with their corruption, ineptitude, and downright criminality. But Kennedy owned a special flair for illustrating the State’s evil — a flair that even death can’t diminish. Consider the country’s travail as Congress passes one unconstitutional law after another: illegal legislation has nationalized the economy, taxed citizens into poverty, federalized education, destroyed freedom of association, eviscerated the Second Amendment, and generally insinuated the feds into every nook and cranny of our lives. Who’s responsible for these scourges? How about “the most influential legislator in the last 50 years,” whom even Republicans acknowledge to be Red Ted? Indeed, if we can trust so unreliable a source as Barack Obama, Kennedy's “name graces nearly one thousand laws and … he penned more than three hundred himself.” Obama also claims that the senator's "ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and millions of lives." We won’t dispute that, despite the president’s penchant for fibbing.

Kennedy began his stretch in the Senate without any experience in elective office. Nor did he boast a single credential beyond his brothers — one, as President, had appointed the other Attorney General — and an overbearing father who told John and Robert, "You boys have what you want now, and everyone else helped you work to get it. Now it's Ted's turn. Whatever he wants, I'm going to see he gets it." Imagine hiring a guy to wire the house you’re building because his brother’s an electrician, or submitting to surgery because some clown’s father bought him an operating room. No matter: Ted considered himself qualified to run our lives — and all the while, he was Exhibit A for the fact that a congressional career demands no talent, knowledge, or skill. Instead, money and powerful relatives enable nincompoops to tyrannize us.

It helps if said nincompoops spurn principle, too. When convenient, Kennedy touted both his Catholicism and his ''personal feeling” that murdering a child still in the womb was as sinful as murdering one outside it. Yet neither religion nor emotion kept him from promoting abortion. (To Rome’s everlasting shame, neither kept this powerful politician from receiving a churchly send-off into eternity, either.) Count on the media to whitewash such hypocrisy: Kennedy was “passionate about his beliefs, a tireless worker for his causes, and he loved fighting the good fight.” Once again, Ted obligingly proves our point: deceit and a complete contempt for morality are as essential to politics as are money, corruption, and greed.

But back to Alan Boisseau and Kennedy’s “tireless work” to deprive this victim of his high-school diploma. Alan’s sister gushes that a few days after the social worker’s meddling, her mother “read a story in the Boston Globe about the Kennedy family having a mentally retarded member who was Sen. Ted Kennedy's sister. She called Sen. Kennedy's office to explain her plight. The senator commiserated, then made a personal call to the superintendent of schools in my home town. He persuaded the school official to halt the processing of my brother's diploma." Oh, I’ll bet he did. Like all socialists, Kennedy savages the human spirit to fool voters into believing he’s indispensable, that neither they nor their handicapped but victorious brothers can make it through the day without his help.

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) eulogized that for "decades to come, history will talk about [Kennedy’s] legislative accomplishments and the difference he made in public policy."

Let’s make sure it does.

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