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Evolution of Kennedy Dynasty

The youngest of the three Kennedy brothers, Ted Kennedy, passed away on 25th August 2009. At the time of his death, he was the second longest serving senator in USA. In his long career he played a monumental part in getting many legislation passed and perhaps left a stronger footprint on USA democracy than his older brothers.

The second oldest, Robert Kennedy, was victim of assassination in 1968. Both Ted Kennedy and Robert Kennedy are not that well known outside USA as compared to their eldest brother John F. Kennedy, for the obvious reason that they were not presidents. It is unfortunately not known to many people how much contribution Robert Kennedy has made as an Attorney General. The convictions against organized crimes, Mafia bosses were 800% up in during his term. Both Ted Kennedy and Robert Kennedy steadfastly championed Civil Rights movement as well.

Their eldest brother, John F. Kennedy was perhaps the most flamboyent president of USA. Even today the Kennedy years fascinate people in America. He was the first president who made look America beyond the celebration of WW-II victory by declaring the vision of manned space mission to moon.

All three brothers left their impression of USA politics. But their  father, Joe Kennedy played more interesting role. He was the main driving force behind the political careers of his sons. By hook and crook, he wanted his sons to get the top offices. He was certainly not a man of clean record. His name was often associated with Mafia (many of whom Robert Kennedy tried to prosecute decades later). History of John F Kennedy’s political campaign is littered with stories of under the table deals made by Joe Kennedy.

So how could corrupt father with underworld connections produce three sons who went on to become the torch-bearers of voice of American people? Additionally how could daughter of such a father , Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, go on to become the most respected champion of rights of disabled people? How did this shady evil to benevolent angel transition happen?

The rise of a person or family may begin in corruption, but in several cases their interests later get aligned with the interests of common people. When you get all the money by corruption, what you want is power. When you get the power you want using the money you have, your heart yearns for fame and glory. You feel a void that can be filled only by praise.

And your kids. You can make all the money you want by cheating the system. But if you want your kids to retain the money for their life, you need a functioning system to protect them.

Will this happen for any one of corrupt Indian politician families? Will Lalu yadav’s sons and daughters will pave the path for the next transformation in India? Gandhi family is already making headlines, but so far it is a lot more bark than bite. This is fourth or fifth generation of Gandhis in politics and but they certainly have not altered the course of Indian politics significantly so far. We have many many more such families and somewhere there perhaps lurks the potential ‘future father/mother of modern India’. In those corrupt and over-ambitious families we might be able to find our Kennedys. No matter how and where we find them, find them we must.

What is important is for all of us to stop the cynical cry of “All are corrupt and useless” and find second generation politicians whose stomach are filled and who are now looking for glory road. We have to stop making the basic mistake of looking at politics from “values and morals” perspective and look at it from “common interests , compromise and negotiations” perspective. If the good things come from bad (of previously bad) side, so be it.


2 Responses

  1. Bonjour,

    Sometimes, USA policies look like family business. And it should not be forgotten that the United States are in good company here: India, Pakistan, North Korea, Syria, Egypt, Congo, another African state but I have forgotten its name.

    In my opinion this indicates a flawed democracy, at the very least.


  2. Before you judge the Kennedys, read Prof. Dallek’s biography of JFK. Joe Kennedy was a wheeler dealer but in many ways he was just shrewd not as corrupt as you suggest (though he certainly tilted that way politically). Joe made money from early film, then by buying short on a falling stock market. Plenty of people have done that. What of those who profited from the Iraq war? How immoral is that? The point about the Kennedy sons that you miss is they developed a sense of social and political justice independently of their father, perhaps because of him, but apart from him. John Kennedy is quoted as saying during the 1930s they were truly super rich, just when the rest of America were suffering – perhaps inspiring his sense of social justice. As well John Kennedy had physical problems all during his childhood – those who suffer something tend to think of others – FDR. JFK showed great bravery saving his colleagues in WWII. He didn’t like two things, above all else: the generals, who he thought were stupid and out of touch (from his experiences in WWII) and the oil industry who he considered were taking an unfair tax rebate in the form of the oil depletion allowance. The Kennedys, John and Bobby and Ted did more for social justice (Johnson put through the agenda, again I suspect in part out of guilt) than any other political family in 20th century U.S. history. And John Kennedy looked to the world and other countries as partners not countries to dominate or exploit. A revolution in advanced political thinking was lost with John Kennedy.

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