In Honor of the Late Edward Kennedy

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I don’t believe in coincidences.

One of my theoretical foundational teachers is Carl Jung, who I don’t think believed in coincidences either.  He had a word–synchronicity–for events that are linked, not in our traditional belief in cause and effect, but by energy or some other “non-logical” connection.

Because it seems to me to be significant that the late Senator McCain died on the same day (except 9 years later) as the late Senator Edward Kennedy–and of the same disease.  To me, there has to be meaning behind that.

The thing was, although they were pretty much ideological opposites, the two men were great friends.  I grew up outside the DC area, and that is the DC I remember–where people could be diametrically opposed to each other’s political positions, but at the end of the day, after the votes had been cast and one side won and the other lost, they could still come together for a drink, with the victors buying a round and acknowledging the other side for their commitment to the betterment of the country, no matter how wrong-minded they might think the other side was.

That was a better DC.

Years ago, I watched Senator Kennedy’s memorial service with tears rolling down my face.  Yesterday, I experienced the same thing watching Senator McCain’s service.  We don’t have to agree with everyone, but we need to try to believe in and respect their commitment to our country.

If we could all just pledge to do that, it would be the greatest tribute to these two men that we could ever offer.  I’m doing my best to live that tribute.

Yesterday I had a wonderful quote from Senator McCain’s favorite book.  I was unable to ascertain Senator Kennedy’s favorite book, so below I have a passage from his memorable 1983 speech entitled “Truth and Tolerance in America.”  I feel sure that Senator McCain would have agreed with every word.

The more our feelings diverge, the more deeply felt they are, the greater is our obligation to grant the sincerity and essential decency of our fellow citizens on the other side. . . .

In short, I hope for an America where neither “fundamentalist” nor “humanist” will be a dirty word, but a fair description of the different ways in which people of good will look at life and into their own souls.

I hope for an America where no president, no public official, no individual will ever be deemed a greater or lesser American because of religious doubt — or religious belief.

I hope for an America where the power of faith will always burn brightly, but where no modern inquisition of any kind will ever light the fires of fear, coercion, or angry division.

I hope for an America where we can all contend freely and vigorously, but where we will treasure and guard those standards of civility which alone make this nation safe for both democracy and diversity.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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