Remember Kennedy for his service as senator

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To the Editor:

Should a person who was once in his late 30s and may have committed an act of gross misjudgment be condemned for the rest of his 80-plus years, and beyond the grave? Or should that person’s record of fighting for the common man, equality, and what used to be considered traditional American values be honored and respected, in spite of a moment of gross misjudgment? 

As a resident of Martha’s Vineyard, I have to say that I was deeply saddened by the front page article devoted to the remembrances of what had been a slightly experienced 29-year-old rescue worker swimming in a pond off Chappaquiddick 50-plus years ago, and who is now happily sitting in retirement someplace in Arizona with a scrapbook of items that are no longer of any important value. 

Perhaps if John Farrar is lucky enough to live another 50 years, he might be able to: win re-election from his constituents after a devastating tragedy, amend voting laws, work toward immigration reform, support teacher unions, and look after 13 nieces and nephews who faced life after their fathers’ untimely deaths. I say that John Farrar and The MV Times should reconsider their priorities and use the front page of the local paper with information on how we can assist others through a blistering heatwave, or drive more thoughtfully through our tight and narrow streets during the summer’s expanded population crush. Or maybe the paper can thoughtfully reflect on the hateful words out of Washington these days, and realize that the majority of service help on this Island is conducted by young people on J-1 visas — many of whom are living like indentured servants in near-slavelike conditions that young people from this country would never tolerate! Or in other words, any other article concerning Martha’s Vineyard today would be more worthy of front-page attention. 

Chappaquiddick happened, and it was a sad moment for many — but it hardly requires a full front page of biased observations 50 years after the fact. Let us reconsider the late Senator’s words, which he uttered during his own brother’s eulogy and leave it there: He “need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered as … a man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him … pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will someday come to pass for all the world.”

 

Janet O’Brien
Edgartown