Two nights ago, Mr. DC, an august bunch of bloggers, and I had the great fortune to gather in Boston's Symphony Hall for a special celebration of John Kerry's 25 years of service in the United States Senate.
At some point, I'd like to cover the events evening, so that those who couldn't make it can find out more details of the performances. In the meantime, though, I want to share the thoughts of another blogger, who goes by TayTay at Democratic Underground's John Kerry Forum. TayTay has been instrumental in organizing fans of Senator Kerry's at the grassroots level for over six years now, has built more bridges between bloggers and the Senator than I can count, and has been an all-around great friend on both the political and personal level. If not for TayTay, I probably would never have met John Kerry, so you can imagine how grateful I am to her.
TayTay shared the following thoughts today on the DU-JK forum, and while that is certainly the best and most appropriate place for them, the nature of her remarks is such that I couldn't help wanting to archive them here. So, with TayTay's gracious permission, I have re-posted them below.
Senator Kerry was honored for his 45 years in public service, 25 of which, as we know, have been in the US Senate. The Senator was honored for his work as a peacemaker, a statesman, a legislator, an activist and a humanitarian. These were all richly deserved honors. They speak to a life in the limelight and a life well lived.
One of the first posts I did on DU JK six years ago this month (OMG, 6 years ago? Wow!) was in answer to questions about the longterm relationship between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and our celebrated son, John Kerry. What did MA want from this cerebral, driven, ambitious, complicated and intense man? I posted that we wanted him to live up to his amazing and near unlimited potential as a brilliant public servant. We also wanted to see more of his inner being. We wanted to see why he fights as hard as he does to better understand this remarkable man. We wanted to see inside someone who is a very guarded and private person, in many ways.
MA is a clubby state. We call our politicians by their first names: Nikki, Eddie, Mikey, etc. We know these folks. We know their histories, their kids, where they grew up and what makes them laugh. We have the opportunity, in many ways, to get to know them as people and can understand their motives and why they do what they do. This has not been the case with John Kerry.
Sen. Kerry is respected in the Commonwealth. But he did not always let people "see" him and deepen the relationship. He was a bit more formal, a bit more guarded and so forth than other public folks. However, in the last few years, the good Senator has relaxed his guard and begun a deeper relationship with the good people in MA. (This is why things like the silly yacht stories come up; there are those who don't want any warming to occur.)
On Monday night, Sen. Kerry stood on the stage at Symphony Hall and stated that he loved being a Senator, he loved representing the good people of MA in Washington and that, in effect, he loved being "from around here." He was saying that yeah, his heart was here with all these crazy, clubby, funny, sarcastic and oddly needy people. He said what he could not have said 20 or even 10 years ago. He said he loved us. He said it many times, and he obviously said it from his heart and from his soul.
I was sitting with Whometense in the upper balcony. We both remarked on the journey that this celebrated son of Massachusetts has been on that brought him to be able to say that in a public forum without reservation, without hemming and hawing without any embarrassment or hesitation. It was "a moment," for me, as an MA resident to see that.
Why is this remarkable? Because people can say, "awww, we love you back hon" to someone who we didn't quite know how to say that to before. We can say thank you for fighting for us in all the ways you have been fighting. Thank you for YouthBuild, and home heating monies and taking care of the poor. Thank you for fighting for our values. Thank you for never giving up. And, honestly, it's okay to say it, we can really love you back. (The world won't end and we won't take you any less seriously, promise.)
So, forgive me for this long post, but damn that was nice to see. The door is a bit more open on this remarkable man, the warmth within a bit more visible,the heart a bit more accessible and I see very good things ahead. Yeah, honest John, we love you back and it's okay. You've earned it.