Friday, September 04, 2009

Revisiting Chappaquiddick

Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of the Chappaquiddick "incident" is the well-grounded suspicion that Mary-Joe Kopechne did not die of drowning but of suffocation. The medical examiner decided she had drowned, but there was no autopsy (and a later attempt to exhume the body to carry out an autopsy was denied). Kennedy did not report to the police station until after the body had been discovered the next morning, and the diver who discovered the body believed - from the position of the body - that she died when the air ran out, and was conscious at the time. She probably survived for several hours after the crash, and if Kennedy had reported the accident immediately she would have lived. If you or I had behaved as Kennedy did we would have gone to jail, and for a very long time; but in United States power and money cannot be denied their due.
I don't deny that Kennedy was on the right side of American politics - at least as compared to the George W Bushs' of this world.
But Chappaquiddick was not just a tragic accident: it isn't just the cowardly self-interested behaviour of Kennedy immediately after the accident (and for all we know he may have been drunk or stoned or both) but the cover-up and lying afterwards, and the use of power to place a "golden one" above the law.