Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Few Thoughts on Sen. Ted Kennedy

Article by Eric H.
All politics aside, I believe that Sen. Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy brought an important element of civility to state relations in Massachusetts and, ultimately, to our country. Yes, that might sound strange, given visions of him pounding his fist on the table and and often displaying an angry, beet red face when disagreeing with his political colleagues while in session, but there's always another side to common public perception of an individual.

During my time working for the public sector, I had some contact with Sen. Kennedy's staff. Always pleasant, professional and somewhat like a friendly neighbor asking for a cup of sugar, his staff had little in common with some other political staffs that flexed their egos, verbally intimidated and thought they were the apex of the universe. Funny, I thought these people were working for us -- not the other way around. With Sen. Kennedy's staff, I felt like they respected the people they represented by being kind yet firm in their inquiries. As an "initial" contact in the process, I felt they made my job easier. Not easier in shirking job responsibility, but just making one's job more pleasant through the fundamental art and science of two-way civil communication.

Please understand, I'm not jumping on the Ted Kennedy bandwagon, stating what a great man he was when the fact is that I never met him -- and that I really didn't care for his politics. While I did see him once at a local chamber of commerce event where he lit up the room with his personality (what a great sense of humor he had!) and seemed genuinely thrilled to be with the common folk, the message here is that the integrity of a political rep's staff speaks volumes about the politician himself. I suppose this goes with the Henry Ford quote: "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." Seems to me that kind of teamwork favorably reflected Sen. Kennedy and his staff working together as partners in collective professionalism.

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