For nearly her entire 51 years, Caroline Kennedy has been part of the socio-political fabric of this nation. She first captivated America as the tiny daughter of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. She was the delightful little blonde atop her pony Macaroni, and the adoring older sister to precocious brother, John. Caroline Kennedy, throughout her life, has been unceasingly gracious — taking a willing back seat to brother John and mother Jackie — America’s perennial Prince and First Lady.
While John Jr. and Jackie were attracting the paparazzi, Caroline was quietly achieving. She graduated from Radcliffe College/Harvard University and Columbia Law School and took the New York and DC bars. While John and Jackie’s every move was scrutinized, Caroline created a lower-profile, but highly productive life. She married Ed Schlossberg, had three children, and continued to work supporting and promoting social causes, overseeing foundations and editing and writing books. Caroline Kennedy, the Number One daughter of America’s preeminent political family, withstood her fishbowl existence without gaffe or misadventure. Controversy hasn’t sullied her. Self-importance hasn’t deluded her. Self-pity hasn’t defeated her. With the whole world watching, no matter the tragedy or the pain, Caroline Kennedy has prevailed.
But for all her accomplishments, she’s refreshingly modest. She’s a lawyer, an author, a mother, a wife and the principal custodian, with her Uncle Teddy, of the Kennedy name. And even now, with “Teddy,” her surrogate father battling a malignant glioma, she’s still stepped forward to serve Barack Obama in his quest for a VP.
So here’s my question. How about Caroline Kennedy for Vice President? She’s as knowledgeable as the others. Couldn’t this be “her time” too? She’s worked her entire life on behalf of those less fortunate, as Hillary claims to have done. She’s certainly weathered difficulty, as Hillary claims to have done. And she’s a woman!!
For months I’ve been hearing Hillary call herself a victim. I’ve heard her mantra that bouncing back from adversity is “the story of her life.” Each time I hear it, I wonder just what her misfortunes have been. From my perspective, Hillary’s life seems pretty damn good. She grew up in a toney neighborhood in Chicago. She went to excellent schools. She attended an Ivy League University. She married the man of her dreams and “chose” to stay with him. She did lose her father, but thankfully her mother and brothers are alive. She has a wonderful daughter, legions of fans, intelligence and apparent good health. She also has great power — which she uses in any way that suits her. So why is she complaining??
Let’s contrast Hillary and Caroline:
Unlike Hillary, Caroline lost her father when she was only five. Less than five years later she lost her surrogate father, Bobby Kennedy, too. She grew up in the lens of the camera, which she never sought. And she never misused her celebrity. She had the freedom of wealth — but it never diverted the tragedies she publicly endured.
Caroline lost her mother to cancer and her brother and sister-in-law in a crash. It’s still extraordinary to recall the strength and dignity Caroline showed when she lost her brother, John. Like millions of Americans, and others around the world, I, too, suffered over the loss of John. And like millions of others, I was buoyed by the Kennedys — especially by Caroline and Ted. While the rest of us wallowed in the loss of our Prince, Caroline showed us the way to move on. We needed her then. We need her again.
Some readers may doubt that Caroline Kennedy has the credentials to lead. But I believe she has always led — just more quietly than most. She’s learned from the best. Her uncle is the Lion of the Senate. Her Aunt Eunice began the Special Olympics. Her Uncle Sarge created the Peace Corps. She’s steeped in a legacy of public service. She has power and doesn’t abuse it. She serves on foundations and boards — all for the public good. She’s on the Commission on Presidential Debates and on the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and she’s a founder of the Profiles In Courage Award. She’s traveled globally and lived abroad. She’s an adviser to the Harvard Institute of Politics, and though she doesn’t hold political office, she’s worked with and for those who have, and for those who still do. She’s brilliant and universally respected. There is little negative to be said about Caroline.
As an author, Caroline Kennedy outshines both Clintons, who have written mainly on their own lives. The books Caroline co-authored with Ellen Alderman, bear the titles, In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights In Action (1990) and The Right To Privacy (1995). With the decaying state of our Constitution and the decline of Americans’ rights, the knowledge-base from this authorship gives Caroline the skills to guide us along.
Finally, there’s The Dream. MY dream. I’ve waited my entire life for a black President and for a woman President. I’ve also dreamed that the Kennedy legacy would be fulfilled. Most believed that destiny of high service and high office was in the hands of JFK, II – but we lost him much too soon. Perhaps that destiny is Caroline’s to fulfill. Would she accept the Vice Presidential call?
If Barack Obama asked her, would she serve?
— by Linda Milazzo