Just set the DVR to record The Kennedy Brothers on MSNBC tomorrow night.Â Taped the late one so it doesn't conflict with anything my husband wants to see, since he is an official Kennedy anti-fan.Â I've never asked why, since as a very conservative guy, it's a given we aren't going to agree on lots of things, although, by his own admission, he has come back the other way and says it's my influence, not by what I say, but how I am.Â A high compliment, and one I treasure.Â The fact remains that he will never understand what it has meant to an Irish-Catholic family to have the Kennedys achieve so much.
When Jack Kennedy was assassinated, my grandmother mourned as though he were a family member.Â My mother hung his portrait on the wall at the end of the hall, a portrait I recently found tucked away in the cedar chest I inherited holding 4 generations of treasured things.Â
I awakened one morning to reports of Bobby's assassination and was the one to tell my mom, who jumped up in bed, wailing, "Oh, no!"
Harsh realities, with Martin Luther King, Jr. also among the leaders of our generation, gunned down.Â Some wondered why our generation lost trust in the status quo.Â Â The status quo was deadly, exhibit B being Viet Nam.
I'm not saying the Kennedys were perfect and worthy of worship.Â Perfection is impossible, except in the person of Jesus Christ, who had the advantage of divinity.Â I'm saying that the Kennedys showed us what was possible for the oppressed, and the Irish had been oppressed in their own land.Â The culture was attacked and musical instruments piled high into bonfires, people tortured for speaking their own language, schools and churches shut down to suffocate the faith which resulted in secret "penal" rosaries made out of stone and "hedge schools" conducted behind bushes.Â When the Great Hunger came, the Irish were assisted in a variety of ways to meet their decimation. Millions died, many fled flung over the Atlantic by their families in an effort to survive, some stepping from one ship, enlisting in the Union Army with the promise of a meal and redirected onto another ship headed for war, leaving their families on the docks.
Everyone knows how the Irish were treated once they arrived in port.Â Accused of being a different race, signs posted said, "Irish Need Not Apply."Â Tensions continued into the 20th century, when my great-grandmother, Annie Murphy, told my mother and my aunt not to play with the Protestant kids.Â As late as the 90's. Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland were trapped in their homes by the cars of Protestants parked up against their doors.
Fear escalates into anger and aggression, one reason why hostile communicators lose my ear.Â I'm not interested in entertaining emotional blow-outs or insults to others. It incites.Â It does not cultivate peace.Â It makes those of us who want peace look like hypocrites, or at the very least, schizophrenic.Â I just won't have it and if it comes, I turn off.
My mother was angry at Teddy over Chappaquiddick and I don't think she ever forgave him.Â I think she thought he ruined everything, whatever that means, maybe she was embarrassed for our "race."Â I don't remember much, now, but I do remember the anger and the disgust.Â She spoke little of it and only once.
Chappaquiddick may have made him a glaring anti-hero but he did seem to settle down and try to redeem himself.Â Some people never do.Â They mess up and quit trying, committed to a lifetime of being a failure, but Teddy must have been determined to push through and be a asset in his work as a Senator and a central figure in his family. Say what you want, but that takes something and though I don't currently have a name for it, I admire it.
Teddy never could sing, but he could inspire. Rest in peace, Ted.Â The dream shall never die.