I’m too young to have experienced the assassination of JFK.
But I did grow up in Boston and the Kennedy clan has always held a certain mystique.
I remember being glued to the TV the weekend that JFK Junior’s plane went down at sea -and feeling like I’d lost someone I actually knew.
I also remember marvelling as a one-legged Ted Junior swooshed by as I was skiing with my family at Waterville Valley in the 70’s.
I, like many others, have always been fascinated by the Kennedys.
Not necessarily as a family, or even as individual people, but by what they stand for.
In layman’s terms… I guess by their Brand Essence.
A carefree “Martha’s Vineyard” sense of style
Perseverance in overcoming adversity
A clannish family unit
And most recently with the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy – who served 47 years in the senate- a synonym for public service.
And in some way perhaps similar to another public figure so recently lost, Michael Jackson, a brand full of contradictions.
Ted Kennedy overcame great moral failings publicly displayed in Chappaquiddick to be regarded as a moral compass on issues like health care reform.
JFK a great leader is well recognized for his own personal infidelities.
Even JFK junior, the golden boy who still rode the NYC subways to work, failed several times (very publicly) to pass his bar exam.
Maybe it’s this display of both good and bad and the acute attempts at redemption that make them seem so human and relatable and that draws us in.
Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe it’s their “otherworldness”. The golden family. Like a J Crew ad- but even more stylized – that’s part of the allure.
President Obama said they have been synonymous with the Democratic party and ideals.
However, I think there was and is something more universal about their appeal.
I believe people all over the political spectrum are feeling a loss this week. A loss of someone we feel we knew.
A man admired both for his approachability and for the aspirational ideal which he embodied.
That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
What does the Kennedy brand represent for you?