The Kennedy Sacrifice

Another pair of Kennedys were delivered to the gods this year. It had been too long since the last time. That being all of one year ago when Saoirse Roisin Kennedy Hill–rich people and their lengthy names, oy vey–“accidentally” overdosed (but you know the Kennedys have long been capable of mitigating the truth behind “accidents”) at the mere age of twenty-two. It happened on the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, the pinnacle of an abode that speaks to the old saying, “If these walls could talk…” Thank Christ for Jack that they could not. 

In Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean’s (with, once more, the mouthful moniker to prove wealth) case, another granddaughter of Bobby’s, the tragedy was to take place at a different compound: that of her mother’s, Kathleen. As former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and a woman of means, of course Kathleen had the hookup on the perfect quarantining quarters for the Kennedy Townsends (consisting of Maeve, her husband and three children) to sequester. To wait out the flaccidity of an apocalypse that wouldn’t simply take everyone out bubonic plague-style, but would instead force them into hiding until one of the last potentially remaining intelligent people on earth worked to come up with a vaccine.

Yes, a vaccine. The miracle of the modern world in coping with illness that would lead to all of our salvation–or at least the majority of affluents with easier, quicker access to any developments made or resources available. That said, the Kennedy Townsends weren’t as worried as the ones down at heel that they advocated for while they took a relaxing retreat away from the pressures of a city as tailor-made for catastrophe as, say, New York. They were going to get through this, and come out stronger. So they reasoned like everyone else telling themselves lies about how COVID-19 would be just another small-scale blip at the end of it all. 

But it was not to be. For the rich in general and the Kennedys in particular have an innate tendency to believe so vehemently in their untouchability (despite all evidence to the contrary) that they don’t even tend to think in a common sense fashion, therefore do not tend to think that anything bad could ever possibly happen to them. Such was the way for Maeve that day, as she played kickball with her son, Gideon. On that compound in the fittingly named Shady Side. Shady indeed, that nature could turn so cruelly on them, as they canoed out to sea to retrieve the ball, only for the winds to take them out too far.  Oh Maeve, you could’ve just bought him a new goddamn ball. Fifty new ones, for God’s(?) sake.

Perhaps this bizarre “fluke” had something to do with Maeve turning on her own uncle, the “outlier” of the family, RFK Jr., by speaking out against the nonprofit organization he started, Children’s Health Defense. Calling him out for his absurd stance on vaccines, and his stoking of unnecessary public fears that such preventive treatments did more harm to children than good when, of course, the entire reason the world has seen a sudden uptick in measles is due to parental laxity and delay in getting their kids vaccinated (and yes, how apropos that Maeve should be concerned about world health just before a true calamity would hit). It was a bold move for a Kennedy to turn on a Kennedy, and maybe something in that move alerted the fates, awakened them once more to an imbalance that reminded: we must punish the Kennedys.

That Maeve should also be struck down in the prime of her life with one of her own children felt particularly tailored to her recent callout against RFK Jr., for it was steeped in concern for her own progeny, and the future world they might live in. Turns out, Gideon wouldn’t get to see a future at all. Maybe he was spared, in that sense. For the future is looking anything but bright. Least of all when all the Democrats could come up with to battle the Orange One was Joe Biden. Where’s the mafia when you need them to generate a viable Democratic candidate to institute within the White House? Must have to do with the diminishment in any Italian emigration to the U.S. on account of, well, America is a shit hole. One that started to crack and crumble at the seams right around the time of JFK’s assassination. The Kennedy Dynasty’s sole purpose after that moment was to do their best to keep up the veneer. To assure the American people that there was still an ounce of hope, glamor and trust to be gleaned from the very institutions that would turn out to be more mafioso than the mob itself. 

Maybe it all could have been different for Maeve, or Saoirse (ah the Kennedy loyalty to their Irish heritage with these names). Maybe if they had run as fast and as far as they could from the U.S., they could have fooled the curse. Maeve might have been better off staying in Africa, where she served in the Peace Corps (Mozambique isn’t a bad assignment, yet again making one wonder if the Kennedy favor is what finagled her such a prime location). She could have had it all, been the Queen of Africa as much as the Queen herself during the final days of British imperialism. Taken to helping the truly disadvantaged (then again, those in the U.S. are far more disadvantaged by their ignorance than they could ever possibly know) in between getting sloshed on the beach every day.

But no, she had to do the Kennedy propagation gambit, get married and have a litter. It was what good Catholics with a pedigree to disseminate did. So it was that Maeve did. Never knowing she would be just another pawn easily pushed off the board at the whims of an invisible hand in this game called the Kennedy Curse. But it was not a curse, so much as a sacrifice that every Kennedy made–whether willingly or not–simply for bearing the name. Knowing full well that to possess it meant being possessed by it. The Kennedy Sacrifice, indeed, is what Maeve unwittingly took on in that journey to Shady Side, where the so-called benefits of privilege would, all at once, sweep her up to The Other Side.

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