The media spotlight has shifted, but fortunately, I’m not beholden to it. Here’s one perceptive paragraph in a post on Ted Kennedy’s death that’s thoughtful throughout.
“There are of course those on the far right who are so used to hating Kennedy that they’ll not recognize how he was motivated by the best of intentions, how he struggled to overcome personal tragedies and flaws, and how widely respected he was by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. They’ll demonize him in death, just as many on the left were unable to let Strom Thurmond live down his early segregationist days. Those people don’t know what being human means, they are too wrapped up in politics and their own biases.”
Watching the aftermath of Kennedy’s death made me think of my dad who was born just five or so years earlier and died as a result of a heart attack fourteen years ago. At first I suppose Kennedy’s death made me think of my dad because of a physical resemblance, but ultimately, because they shared similar personal attributes.
Like Kennedy, my dad excelled at his life’s work, in his case business, rising to be the chief executive officer of two large companies at the time of his death.
Like Kennedy, he was well respected by everyone he worked with. Like Kennedy, that was because he asked genuine questions of everyone irrespective of their status and then listened as if they mattered.
Most impressively of all, like Kennedy, my dad was humble, not needing or wanting public praise for work well done.
Like Kennedy, my dad’s work ethic was off-the-charts.
Unlike Kennedy, my dad grew up in an Eastern Montana family of very modest means. And unlike Kennedy, my dad was not religious or liberal.
But the more I’ve learned about Kennedy over the last few weeks the more convinced I am that those differences wouldn’t have mattered. Had they met, they would have liked and respected one another a great deal.
The world is a better place as a result of the lives they lived.
Long live their memories.