In the coming days and weeks, we will be subjected to indelicate recountings of the life of Edward Kennedy that will linger over his flaws as a man. We know what to expect from the wingnuts—Sean Hannity announced months ago that when Kennedy died, he would refuse to mourn him as “a great American”—but such a reference also appears even now, as I type this, in the front-page slug on the New York Times website: “a disciplined liberal lawmaker with a sometimes-stormy personal life.”
Last month, in a Black Kos diary, people were envying the Kossack Robinswing because she had met Miles Davis—a man also know for his “sometimes-stormy personal life.” Robinswing had a very wise reply:
“Meeting him for real,” she said, “happens with his music.”
And so it is with Senator Kennedy. The real Ted Kennedy was in his music. Which, as William O. Douglas once expressed it, was all about using his considerable powers to try to help “the miserable, the sick, the suspect, the unpopular, the offbeat.” He was a rich man’s son who considered lost and suffering people his “base.” And through a personal life riven, as all human lives must be riven, by missteps and failures, in his public life, for those people, his music never stopped.
I don’t have anything else to say.
Senator Kennedy does, though.