Thursday, August 27, 2009

Small TK Story

Hearing all the Ted Kennedy remembrances on the radio this morning, I was reminded of the story my high school government teacher told us.

She and her husband visited Washington DC the summer before I took her class. She visited our local representative -- we lived in Midland, Texas; I don't remember who the representative was, but no doubt he was republican and conservative.

My small town teacher was brushed aside by the staff of our representative. There was no way she could even get in to see him. Later that same day, she went by Ted Kennedy's office. He not only met her, he also took her and her husband to lunch. They discussed current events and topics important to her as a teacher. Pictures were taken.

Six months later, in her Midland classroom, most of her students were unimpressed. "He's such a liberal!" they proclaimed, since he did not belong to the only party that one could be elected in our county. But she remained touched that he would take time to listen to her, a person without power, not even in his district.

I think this was part of what made Ted Kennedy so beloved by so many, that he would meet with the small man, someone with no power or political pull, certainly with no lobbyist or PAC. This woman could never vote for him, and this lunch would never amount to much.

But he was a politician. Perhaps he knew that by being kind to this teacher, rebuffed by her own representative, her friends and students would remember his gesture, and maybe retell it. This was how he built his legacy, and how I remembered him today.


Anonymous said...

Very nice blog.
Love, M

Emily said...

What a great story. I'm glad you shared it.