The end of an era? Senator Edward Kennedy dies at 77.

Wednesday, 26. August 2009     1 comment(s)
Barbara Zanchetta
Researcher - The Global Security research programme
Democratic senator Edward Kennedy, a son of one of the most well-known and storied families of the United States, died on Tuesday night after a year-long struggle with brain cancer.

Mr. Kennedy was the last surviving brother of a generation that more than any other shaped America during the turbulent 1960s. He was himself a long-time protagonist of U.S. politics, having served in the Senate for 46 years (and with a bid for the White House in 1980).

The freshness and the idealism introduced by the election of President John F. Kennedy in 1960 left an irrevocable mark in the United States and around the world. For decades, and up to the present day, the words, the image and the actions of J.F.K. have been a reference point for policy makers and for scholars, stirring passions and animating debates. A sometimes inexplicable charm and charisma made all the more vivid by the President’s untimely death in 1963 and by the mystique surrounding his assassination. A dramatic saga which seemed to carry on – from the assassination of the President’s brother Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, to the accidental death of the President’s son in 1999.

For the last 40 years, Edward (or Teddy, as he was better known) has kept the Kennedy myth alive – a myth that captured the imagination of the world and embodied the hopes, dreams and aspirations of an era. Although the concrete battles and policies of the 1960s may appear to pertain to the past, the ideals and the principles of the Democratic tradition endure.

During the Presidential primaries in 2008, Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama was a pivotal moment. To many historians, Obama’s promise for change seemed to resound from the past. Senator Teddy Kennedy himself referred to the potential election of a leader of a new generation as a landmark event, just like his brother’s election had been more than four decades earlier.

President Barack Obama now carries the immense burden of keeping “the dream” alive.

Texts reflect the opinions of the individual authors

Discussion (1 comments)

3.9.2009, Kenneth Sikorski

Too bad justice for Mary Jo Kopechne never materialized due to that 'myth' you allude to, as well as to the hundreds of thousands of Cambodians who suffered under the Khmer Rouge due to T.Kenedy's influence in arranging a US defeat in Vietnam, by leading the call to cut funding to the South.

Nice legacy.

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