Baby boomers will fondly recall the photos of Caroline Kennedy with her father, and who can forget the heart-wrenching photo of her taken the day of JFK’s funeral? Kennedy is now thrust in the public eye for reasons unassociated with nostalgia or sweetness: she wants to become the next senator of New York. For the first time in her life, she is at the centre of a controversy, with questions swirling over her qualifications to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat. Welcome to the world of politics.
At first glance, the detractors have a point. She may have a magic name, but her credentials appear to be rather thin when compared with some less-famous pretenders. Her appearances in the media in recent days have done little to dissipate the doubts or the opposition. Her latest claim to fame has much to do with her pivotal support of Barack Obama’s candidacy. Of course, this did nothing to endear her to Clinton Democrats. My guess is that Governor David Patterson will select Caroline anyway.
Kennedy brings many attributes to the table. Aside from the famous family connection, she has, in a private way, led a model life, participating in numerous volunteer and fundraising ventures, writing books on the US constitution, and working for various causes in need—not to mention raising a family and becoming a lawyer. Tragedy has struck her life and family in immeasurable ways and she has dealt with this by showing grace and courage through it all. This may not be a credential in itself, but it shows character. Her resume is modest, but we know the newly elected president faced a similar obstacle. And in the end, Obama overcame it and many other obstacles along the way. The detractors are correct to debate her candidacy, but my belief is that, if she is chosen, her character and temperament will justify Patterson’s decision.