Piling on Mary Jo Kopechne at The Huffington Post: Utterly Irresponsible at Best; Repellent and Obscene at Worst

–Richard E. Vatz

One of the consistent weaknesses of increasingly progressive America is the creation of false victims and the relative unconcern for authentic victims.

The former phenomenon manifests itself in the current iterations of health reform bills which allow for any of the 300+ mental disorders of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) to be insured in parity with physical disorders by national health insurance. In short, if you tend to find any parts of your life problematic, you would be covered by health insurance for psychiatric drugs and/or talking sessions with a counselor who in some cases may have a master’s degree or less in psychology or social work.

Simultaneous with the outrage of parity policy’s creating victims, America has been revealing its insensitivity toward real victims, people who have no responsibility for their sad lot: crime victims, accident victims, and, to be very specific, Mary Jo Kopechne, the victim of the late Edward M. Kennedy’s unpunished manslaughter at Chappaquiddick in 1969.

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In leading to what is likely the most repugnant sentence of recent years in a mainstream publication, one Melissa Lafsky, after offering a few concessional allowances for Ms. Kopechne’s “bright future” cut short, hypothetically channels Mary Jo Kopechne to provide an uncritical perspective of the liberal accomplishments – the “huge accomplishments,” as she characterizes them — of Sen. Kennedy.

Ms. Lafsky actually ends her blog for The Huffington Post, which blog is titled “The Footnote Speaks: What Would Mary Jo Kopechne Have Thought of Ted’s Career?,“ by asking herself, an unconvincingly self-described conservative, “…what Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded.”

Lafsky’s surmise? The aforementioned repugnancy: “Who knows — maybe she’d feel it was worth it.”

My surmise? This is a contemptible blog which obscenely and blithely summarizes a promising young woman’s life as worth sacrificing by calling on her in death to exonerate the politician who subordinated her life to his own career interests.

Shame on The Huffington Post, generally one of the most interesting-if-liberal websites, for sacrificing its soul for such jejune insouciance at best, and reckless insensitivity at worst.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

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