There is something deeply moving about this weekend’s news that Caroline Kennedy had endorsed Sen. Obama and that Sen. Edward Kennedy would be endorsing him later today.
After all these years and all the tragedy and all the scandal, the Kennedys have found their heir and he is an African-American man one generation removed from Kenya named Barack Hussein Obama. It is a satisfying, beautiful, appropriate end to that story.
It is, after all, an epic story.
The Kennedy brothers were groomed to lead America. But then death happened. The one destined to be the greatest, in their father’s eyes, died in World War 2. Then the next was assassinated in Dallas. Then the next was assassinated in Los Angeles. And the youngest one, Edward, bounced between greatness and self-destruction.
The beautiful heir, John Jr., was felled too.
Now Edward Kennedy, the patriarch, and Caroline Kennedy, that little girl from Camelot, are handing their mantle to a man who bears little resemblance to the Kennedy clan.
But it is fitting because, ultimately, Sen. Obama is the embodiment of the social justice and civil rights that the Kennedy family fought for. He is an African-American man, raised overseas, who has achieved success based on effort and merit. He is the Kennedy dream and that is what makes the endorsements fitting and not, ultimately, surprising. That his middle name is Hussein is as appropriate for our age as was the fact that John Kennedy’s middle name was Fitzgerald.
Read Caroline Kennedy’s endorsement:
I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.
I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.
No matter your political affiliation or orientation, it is hard not to love this story.