Do not speak ill of the dead
Really? On the contrary, I find compelling the Jewish ethic that permits critical, even negative, speech (lashon hara) about the dead if a higher purpose can be served. Truth is just such a purpose. Even more so, is truth that is spoken to serve moral ends. Here then is the relevant paragraph from Daniel J. Flynn's obituary of Edward Kennedy:
Insulated by the consequences of his behavior, Kennedy was also shielded from the consequences of his policies. He was the champion of busing who kept his own children far from the public schools; an advocate of publicly funded campaigns who bankrolled his political career with his family's shadowy financing; an icon of feminists who used women like Kleenex, serially harassed members of the opposite sex, and spent ten hours attempting to rescue his political career [by delaying the rescue of a] young women suffocating in an air pocket in his Oldsmobile; and the primary booster of socialized medicine who assembled a dream team of neurosurgeons to consult on his treatment for brain cancer. The proverbial limousine liberal was made real in Trustfund Ted.
And what moral purpose does reminding us of Senator Kennedy's all too human failures? It is this: Never having to suffer for the consequences of his behaviors, he continued to destroy his character and to vex the people who loved him. His conscience now stands before God - a conscience that countenanced and advanced the abortion of countless unborn babies. Still, it not for me to condemn this man. Rather, I rail at the euologies that mask the failings of his unrepentent life and hide its effects from those not so privileged.