I talked yesterday with two friends who are younger than me about Ted Kennedy. (Out of privacy concerns, I do not want to reveal their names. Let's call them "Tonja" & "Tamalia".)
During the last few days, both learned for the first time about Ted Kennedy leaving Mary Jo to die in a lake.
I thought about it, and it was not so surprising that it took Teddy's death to learn about this. You see, the main stream press never brought up the incident unless Teddy was running for President. His past never was part of the present.
Even now, you hear words like "incident" or "accident" or phrases like "he overcame Chappaquiddick".
Lets be clear: the only accident was the car crashing into the lake. Every action Ted took over the next 10 hrs had a purpose, nothing he did was by accident; it was all by design.
As for overcoming the situation, that would be funny if there wasn't a dead girl found in a lake.
You see, Teddy never paid a price for what he did to Mary Jo. He never went to jail.
There has never been a sense of closure about this case. You know why? Because a crime was committed, woman died, and the guilty went free.
At last year's Democratic Convention they gave Teddy a video tribute. Here are my remarks written at that time:
Teddy Tribute: I'm Shocked, No Mary Jo?
I'm going to say that Mary Jo was driving- Ted (The Swimmer) Kennedy
I just watched the Ted Kennedy video tribute at the Democratic Convention. Holy sh*t. Just about the whole thing took place in the ocean. On the water. How much Teddy loves the water.
Talk about having no sense of shame. Do you think it would have crossed the film makers mind to say "hey, let's go easy on Teddy loving the ocean thing, out of respect for Mary Jo".
Here's a much more accurate depiction of Teddy's love for water:
During the summer of 1969, Teddy was at a party where he was heavily drinking. He left the party with a woman- Mary Joe Kopechne. (Not his wife.) He drove his car off a bridge into a lake. (At the time, his license was suspended for reckless driving, but rules don't apply to Ted.) Ted was able to get to the shore right away. (Michael Phelps has nothing on Teddy.) He suffered no injuries. Mary Jo was still locked in the car underwater.
Ted walked past several homes that had the lights on. People were home and all he had to do was knock to get help for Mary Jo. But he didn't.
Ted made it back to outside the house of the party. He did not want a lot of people to see him. He saw his servant; he made him get two men who always helped Teddy get out of trouble, his lawyer and his cousin. They were Teddy's fixers. (Or more correctly Kennedy family fixers.)
Teddy and the two fixers walked back to the lake. It was now two hours after Mary Jo was left in the car in the lake. The two fixers continually urged Teddy to call the authorities, to get help for Mary Jo. Teddy refused. He kept muttering "How could this happen to me?"
The two fixers jumped into the lake in a vain attempt to save Mary Jo. Teddy still would not let them call for help.
Over the next 8 hrs. Teddy went back and forth about how he could he get out of this mess. Can he say that Mary Jo was driving? That she dropped him off? That one of the fixer's were driving? During that time, he never called for help or allowed the two fixers to call. He also demanded that the fixers not tell anyone at the party what happened.
Teddy only admitted the incident to the authorities after he saw that the body was found.
Ten hours after the accident, the car that Teddy was driving was found half submerged in the lake. The license plate was traced back to Teddy.
Scientific evidence suggests that Mary Jo may have suffocated, rather than drown. If this is true, Mary Jo would have been alive for several hours, crucial hours that emergency workers could have used to save her life. But they were never called.
An autopsy was never performed; Teddy quickly reached an agreement with Mary Jo's family, he (or more likely, his father) paid the family $90,000. The insurance company kicked in another $50,000.
He received a slap on the wrist, gave a speech where he said his "family was cursed" and went back to the Senate.
That's the Teddy who loves the water. That's the Teddy who is the health care advocate-except of course, if you need immediate health care because you are trapped in a car underwater.
What a guy.