By Joshua Resnek
For the Transcript
Everyone in this town old enough to recall how the Lodge Family and Republicans dominated local politics in Massachusetts until the Kennedys arrived on the scene understands the sadness that so many will feel on the death of Senator Ted Kennedy.
The Kennedy political dynasty began with JFK in the early 1950’s when he campaigned here and ran from Congress here and put the staid old Lodge family in its place.
In fact, the Kennedys started out in East Boston. They even owned a home here on Shore Drive earlier in the 20th Century – and so they knew something about Winthrop.
The dynasty ended about 80 miles from here on the Cape almost 60 years later.
Ted Kennedy’s life was a road well traveled.
He made a giant mistake as a much younger man, which he would regret the rest of his life.
But the sum of his life was more than the mistake.
In the end, he did more for Americans than his brothers John and Robert who came before him.
In the end, he had become the most influential senator in the nation.
In the end, he turned his life around.
As Colm Bohill, one of our staffers from the Old Country put it so well upon hearing of Kennedy’s death: “He will be mourned from New Ross to New Delhi, in Barnstable County to County Wexford and at all points of the compass on more than one Continent. He was everyone’s champion. There is not a family in the United States that is not better off because Ted Kennedy was in their corner. Long after the bones of those who hated him have turned to dust and are scattered by the wind, his legacy will endure.”
Ted Kennedy was no stranger to Winthrop over the years.
Winthrop’s Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo put it this way:
“The loss of Senator Kennedy leaves a chasm in the Massachusetts political landscape. His contributions to the American people, to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to his family – to whom I extend my personal condolences — were without equal. No words better fit the moment than those of Senator Kennedy himself: ‘The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.’”
Ted Kennedy understood what it was to be Irish and to be Catholic.
He understood what it took to overcome discrimination.
In the end, he was this nation’s greatest voice in the US Senate for liberty and equality for all Americans.
This, and that he was loyal to the memory of his dead brothers, is his legacy – and it is a mighty one at that.