Sunday, 30 August 2009

A bridge too far

President Barack Obama, three former Presidents and a host of world leaders and luminaries yesterday attended the funeral of a legend of the past half century, Mary Jo Kopechne, the woman who lost her life when Edward Kennedy drove off Dike's bridge at Chappaquiddick.

Mary Jo will forever be associated with the tragic events of one night in 1969, when the phenomenon known to this day as the 'Kennedy Career' came crashing down in a moment of drunken folly. The events of this night were never fully understood, however one thing is known for sure: After the crash the 'salvage operation' never satisfactorily restored the 'Kennedy Career'.

People have to this day questioned why Teddy Kennedy abandoned the car with Mary Jo still inside, not returning for ten hours - by which time she had suffocated. However, it does appear that there was a simple and plausible explanation: Kennedy was obliged to contact the family lawyer, which for a Kennedy at least was the only appropriate thing to do in the circumstances. Similarly Kennedy showed contrition for the accident in true Kennedy style, never actually saying 'sorry' to her parents, but skillfully and considerately paying them $90,000 hush money.

We can only guess what Irish Catholic Kennedy actually said to his priest during confession. We can only guess that he actually went to confession. One key question still remains, however: After the events of that night in 1969 and after Kennedy's response to those events, will Senator Edward Kennedy go to Heaven or to Hell?

To Heaven of course - After all, he was a Kennedy.