When I came across the post The Footnote Speaks: What Would Mary Jo Kopechne Think Of Ted Kennedy's Career? at Memeorandum I had one single thought, the gloves are off, bitch.
We're comfortable with moral relativism in this country -- or, at least, we love us a good "sinned and redeemed" narrative. And, for the most part, we realize that there are few lives on which we can slap a "Good" or "Evil" label and expect it to be accurate.
Are you comfortable with dismissing a woman's life as a "footnote"? If so, you and the other "we" can kiss my ass. I don't want membership in any sorority that balks at calling the leaving a human being to suffocate to death "Evil".
Mary Jo wasn't a right-wing talking point or a negative campaign slogan. She was a dedicated civil rights activist and political talent with a bright future -- granted, whenever someone dies young, people sermonize about how he had a "bright future" ahead of him -- but she actually did. She wasn't afraid to defy convention (28 and unmarried, oh the horror!) or create her own career path based on her talents. She lived in Georgetown (where I grew up) and loved the Red Sox (we'll forgive her for that). Then she got in a car driven by a 36-year-old senator with an alcohol problem and a cauldron full of demons, and wound up a controversial footnote in a dynasty.
Yep, she had potential. But she never got the chance to fulfill it because like women in general, she was nothing more than a "footnote" in the great Kennedy male psyche. Like Rose and Rosemary and Jackie and Marilyn and Joan, she was a footnote, a nothing, a thing.
We don't know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she'd have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. What we don't know, as always, could fill a Metrodome.
We know exactly how her death affected Ted Kennedy. Nada. Zip. Nothing. He did what men of his rank of always done. Daddy's money and the family name got him through. If there is anything you don't know, chalk it up to willful ignorance. The man got over.
Who knows -- maybe she'd feel it was worth it.
You sick, sorry bitch.