Posted by: Kate | May 21, 2008

Do Something

If you don’t live in New England, it’s possible that thirty consecutive seconds of your television viewing experience has not been flooded with the news of Senator Edward Kennedy’s malignant glioma.  A brain tumor.  A Very Bad Thing.

The airwaves are jammed here.  People are weeping.  It’s really very personal, a reminder that the Kennedy family does sneak dangerously close to royalty for Americans, especially Americans who switch the letter “R” and vowel sounds on a regular basis.

It’s been particularly fascinating for me to watch, because I’m not a native New Englander.  Born and raised in upstate New York, I moved to Boston in 1998.  I’ve been in the area for ten years now, have never considered moving away, and have borne two children in New England states.  And yet I am, and will always be, From Away.  I’m quietly amused, and not in the least offended, by this.

After all, distance is a key ingredient to perspective, and I’m not sure I would be nearly as fascinated by the intensity of public attention if I was immersed in it, myself.  It’s a big deal, when talk of a senator’s illness preempts Oprah.

There are hastily-gathered retrospectives and tributes on every station, enumerating the senator’s list of professional successes and personal dramas, and it seems that, for the most part, even those who would disagree with his politics have respect for his determination and focus.  He’s made mistakes and weathered tragedy in his personal life, just like an actual human being.  Can you imagine?

And it brings up an inevitable contrast, between Kennedy’s long, intricate story, and the insanity of the ongoing Clinton-Obama spat.  You can do something, or you can talk, argue, bicker, name-call and accuse before you get around to doing something.  I’m sure Senator Kennedy has done plenty of all of the above, but never in such a relentless, public, irritating way as the two Democratic hopefuls.

I’ll tell you something, and it’s something I don’t talk about to just anyone: in New Hampshire’s primary, I temporarily changed my voting registration status from “Independent” to “Democrat,” just so I could vote for Hillary Clinton.  I thought it would be good for the country to have a woman in change, all other things being equal, so I filled in the little oval next to her name.  But you know what?  Six months later?




I don’t care anymore.  I have lost interest, respect, and tolerance for the morass of words and whines that the Democratic candidates have exchanged.  Stop needling each other, accept some of those phrases like “mathematical certainty” and “inevitable outcome,” and do something.  Win.  Lose.  Go.  Start now.  Do something with your politics, something different, something new – but do something.  So that when you get a brain tumor, I can feel some respect for a life of accomplishment and mistakes instead of vague disdain for a life of talking.



  1. Thanks for posting the article, was certainly a great read!

  2. Well said.

  3. We’ve been getting all Kennedy news too. And as sad as it is? He’s lived a long good life – I don’t care. I know that sounds heartless. But at the age of 20, my sister’s boyfriend died from a brain tumor…that I cared about. He was way too young.

  4. I’m from even further away, the midwest, but around Massachusetts, Kennedy is King, not just for the whole Kennedy history, but for the way Mass. residents can call his office and get immediate, efficient, effective responses to their problems. He’s a hugely effective Senator and no one in Mass. wants to lose his in-house power to solve their problems.

    And the reason Clinton won’t quit is that under political rules, if she runs until the convention, she’s allowed to forever after raise money to pay off her candidate-debts. If she drops out before, she has only *until* the convention to raise replayment money, then she’s not allowed to.

    The news isn’t talking about that money issue because they’re getting great ratings from this endless analysis over trivia.

    I care about who wins because I don’t want the Republicans to pick the next 3 Supreme Court justices.

  5. What a great post. I have a bit of a different take on it. Though I can’t dispute Nita because she raises a great point I believe the clintonistas are so ingrained with the win-at-any-cost attitude that she will take it all the way to the convention. I also voted for her in my primary. I felt sick over doing so and it took a few pints to get over it. 🙂
    Being an Irish Catholic Democrat who is related to half of south Boston and most all of Arlington, Mass I grew up with a photo of the Pope right beside a photo of JFK.
    The Demoncrat party of today holds no relation whatsoever to the party of JFK.
    I voted for Billary just so this bickering and fighting would continue. You see B. Hussein Obama really scares me. The three canidates we have are, in my opinion, a communist, a socialist and someone who is far, far, far left. No matter who we elect we are pretty well screwed but Obama is the worst of the three…to me.
    By the way, is it too early to order one of your too too cool winter beenie hats?

  6. Ditto Lisa.

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