What a summer it's been -- deathwise, I mean. Cronkite. Michael Jackson. Farrah Fawcett. Don Hewitt. The famous, the infamous. Many elderly parents of my friends, one by one, went to a land where the corned beef is always lean. Some losses were surprising, as if a small but important rug had been yanked from beneath our collective feet. Others we had prepared for, but still reminded us of the implacable clock that, for the most part, silently attends our lives.
This morning I awoke to hear that Ted Kennedy had finally fought his last campaign. Of course, he hadn't been well for quite some time. And as a national figure, he has always been shrouded in controversy of one sort or another, some of which had faded over the years as he gained decades of service and his adversaries found other oxen to gore. He leaves us as the nation is still immersed in the effort to protect all its citizens from illness and the existing health care system that profits by it. It was his big issue. And it remains unresolved. But Ted did get a lot done in his long and bumpy life. And he won the admiration of many people, one group, I think, in particular, that is notoriously hard to win over.In 1992, the Democratic Party held its convention in the great city of Chicago. Several things of note happened at that convention. Bill Clinton was nominated for his second term. Dick Morris, then a political strategist for Clinton and now a right-wing scold, was found sucking the toes of a local working girl. And a few people I know hosted a short boat ride on the Chicago river for a variety of dignitaries who were attending the festivities. It was the usual thing. Indifferent white wine. Soggy little canapes. And some famous people. The city is very beautiful and imposing when seen from the river. The weather was nice. It was better than a sharp stick in the eye.