Thursday, August 27, 2009

play everlasting

I’m deeply affected by the Event of Ted Kennedy’s death—as a very public death, as a Kennedy death, and as American Event.

As American Event: Not merely an American event rightly spread all over the news cycle, it’s a story of the dependence of democracy on leadership that can be irreplaceable.

As a Kennedy death: I was merely 11 years old when John F. Kennedy was elected, but I was childishly inspired to become interested in civic life, such as an 11-year-old can understand anything, and I was devastated at 14 by his assassination. I was devastated at 18 by Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, and I was persistantly angry through the Vietnam years by the stupidity of “silent majority” conservatism (then evangelical conservatism). I held for good an idealistic liberalism that was supposed to be intrinsic to our American character, but I was living an America that was failing its children, failing, failing!

After doctoral work, I wanted to devote my life to K-12 educational reform, as a grand matter of political philosophy. I would not let my idealism be undone. But the politics of the '80s wore me down; so I “retired” to academic life.

For all the wisdom of prudence I’ve tried to gain, I’ve not let my idealism be undone. Nor have I forgotten how easy it is to take a tragic view of life and to be undone by that.

It’s a long and painful road to the playfulness you’ve seen at my various platforms. Now’s not the time to recall the bridge. But know this: I do not play naïvely. I play for all that matters in lives that make themselves matter.

As a very public death: Kennedy’s passage is a reminder to us all of the importance of who is in our lives—“what” is, O, be everlasting!—
and a reminder of inevitable ending.

Yea!, I’m still alive to do something worthwhile and well.