Friday, August 28, 2009

Curtains for Camelot

The curtain has fallen.
Cut the applause and standing ovations,
There are no more encores.
Time to dim the lights and leave the theater.
Camelot is done.

It matters little what the remaining Kennedys of the so-called younger generation do, with the death this week of their “Uncle Teddy” the “dream” has died. (Even if Caroline does resume some political quest.)

And even knowing the Kennedy “Camelot” was as mythical as the literary one, it still saddens me. At first, as I watched Edward Kennedy’s casket escorted from his boyhood home for the final time, I couldn’t put my finger on why that might be.

Then it hit me—my adolescents and young adulthood was bound up with that family, for good or ill.

I will admit that as a teenager I enthusiastically bought into whole bag, delighting in the contrast between JFK and Ike. I felt as if the world was opening up, just as I was approaching adulthood, possibilities unbounded. A series of well-aimed gunshots cut short the lives of JFK and RFK . Others, like the affable JFK Jr., were lost to their own fatal misjudgments. But there always seemed to be another Kennedy to step into the void and feed the myth. Until now.

The “dream” that died with Teddy was not the one of political dynasty, power or privilege. It was the dream of my—and my generation’s—youthful view of this country and what our lives might be. As much as we boomers hate to admit it, the torch REALLY has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born to a very different reality and impatient with the masses of us clogging the road to their new millennium.

No comments: