Caroline Kennedy has expressed interest in being appointed Senator of New York to the United States Congress, completing the term vacated by Hillary Clinton who has agreed to serve as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. In our current society there is little new event in the political scene that escapes controversy ranging from mild aspersions to vitriol. Questions over Caroline’s education and experience are at issue.
She meets the requirements of the Constitution. That exquisite document reminds us that we are all commoners and all sovereign — a vaulted ideal towards which we are reminded to strive, although the inequalities amongst us sometimes make us look like foreigners as opposed to countrymen. In addition to being of age, and an American citizen, Caroline exceeds the average person’s education and experience of the political life as well as years of community leadership. Furthermore, Caroline has garnered poignant insights into self and humanity throughout her unusual lifetime, and borne it all with grace and comity.
Most commendable is her commitment to her community through dedicated years of faithful service. Caroline has chosen a life of service over a life of ease. Indeed, because she has no need like most of us to work to survive, I find her commitment and discipline toward the greater good remarkable and inspiring.
Taking a historical perspective, Caroline is the daughter of a president — an assassinated president. She is the sister of a beloved brother and two sisters-in-law who died in a private airplane crash on their way to a family wedding. She is no stranger to challenges of spirit and character.
She is a member of a prestigious, powerful family; and she is a person who knows both the best and the most tragic in life. Caroline has experienced a significant segment of American history — a child of American myth and of pain-filled realities. Raised by her mother to value ideals balanced by obligations, and tempered by life in the knowledge of the mortality and commonality of humankind, Caroline has developed a stature of dignity. She is no irresponsible socialite; she is no mere seeker of limelight. Her desire to move into political service during her mature years deserves my sober respect and admiration.
I have read that her mother, Jackie Kennedy, took efforts, after the assassination of her husband, to routinely provide Caroline and John with a father figure at dinner time. Jackie also took a job as an editor, although she did not need financial income; and she was strict regarding the children’s attendance at social gatherings — even those of the Kennedy family. If these accounts are true, they all were thoughtful, intentional actions to include role models, instill and values, stability, and responsibility in their lives. Again, it is said that Jackie also took care to introduce her children to family traditions and to literature and life culture. Caroline has remarked that sharing of literature and quotations were even more important than material gifts at Christmas.
My life story, as an American, will be enhanced by observing and cheering Caroline Kennedy as she serves the remaining term of Hillary Clinton. I believe her motivation is to serve her country from the ideals instilled in her as a child and young woman. I say, “Caroline, thank you for your willingness to give your best to America; I wish you success and fulfillment. You could have chosen to remain aloof and withdrawn, or absconded with your family ideals into the life of a party animal glamorized by the crasser side of American media. I am inspired that you have rather chosen the road less taken, the road of commitment, discipline, and service. Thank you for setting an example worthy of your parents’ hopes and dreams, and worthy of a new generation’s quest.”