A Flawed Human Being

I heard the NPR eulogy of Ted Kennedy as I drove in to work this morning, and I thought:  if ever there was a flawed human being, it was Ted Kennedy.

The NPR eulogy was largely positive.  It noted that Kennedy served for 47 years in the U.S. Senate and achieved a number of legislative accomplishments for his political constituencies.  He was an eloquent spokesman for the liberal agenda, and a lion of the Senate with many friends in that body.

And yet . . . .  My grandmother despised Ted Kennedy.  Her view, undoubtedly old-fashioned, was that human beings reveal their true nature in times of stress.  She felt that his behavior after the incident at Chappaquiddick was indefensible and inexcusable and spoke more about the inner man and his true qualities than any scripted speeches or agenda-driven legislative accomplishments ever could.

It doesn’t matter now, because Senator Kennedy has gone on to his great reward, whatever it may be.  Whatever judgment awaits Edward Kennedy will be developed in the fullness of time.  In the meantime I wonder, however, whether we do people like Senator Kennedy any favors by treating them as anything other than flawed human beings like the rest of us.

I’ll Clap For Navy

UJ, Buckeye Bebe, Richard and I will be going to the first game of this year’s Ohio State football season, versus Navy. There’s a bit of a controversy on Ohio State fan websites about whether true Ohio State fans should clap when Navy trots onto the Ohio Stadium turf or boo like there is no tomorrow. That is an easy decision for me: I’ll clap for Navy, and then root like crazy for Ohio State to stomp them and shake hands like sportsmen afterward.

I don’t feel that I need to hate every team that Ohio State plays. I admire student athletes, because I think the commitment it takes to train and then compete in athletics at the major-college level, while taking classes and maintaining a decent GPA, is far beyond what most people understand. Individuals who show such commitment deserve our admiration, not our enmity. In the case of the service academies, where the commitment to a sport is matched by a commitment to serve our country, our appreciation is even more deserved.

Hatred and contempt should be reserved for the exceptional, truly evil and contemptible teams like, well, Michigan.