What Ted Kennedy Did For Women
It’s easy to remember Edward Kennedy for the soap opera that was his life: His two brothers were assassinated five years apart; he survived a plane crash in 1964; he lost two beloved nephews in rapid succession in the 1990s; and rumors of alcoholism constantly followed him. And when I say the words “Ted Kennedy” and “women” in the same sentence, only one probably comes to mind: Mary Jo Kopechne, the 28-year-old campaign aide he was probably trying to sleep with, who was sitting in the passenger seat of his Oldsmobile when it careened into a river on Martha’s Vineyard in 1969. Kennedy escaped from the car and left Mary Jo behind, not calling the police until after her body had been discovered. (Required reading: Joyce Carol Oates’ Black Water, which tells the story, fictionalized of course, from her perspective.) To say it wasn’t his best moment is a gross understatement.
Yes, these are the details about Ted Kennedy that are titillating to talk about. But since the announcement of his death this morning, I’ve found myself thinking about the not-so-salacious details: his record over his 46 years in the Senate. For a dude, Ted did a heck of a lot for us ladies.