August 29, 2009

Kennedy Funeral: The Presidents

From left to right, former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush, U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama (R) attend funeral services for U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy at the Basilica of Our Lady of  Perpetual Help in Boston, Massachusetts August 29, 2009.  Senator Kennedy died late Tuesday after a battle with cancer.    REUTERS/Brian Snyder   (UNITED STATES POLITICS OBITUARY)

Just a few random thoughts on and associations to this photo from the Kennedy funeral:

>> Rather remarkable how non-neurotic everyone looks here. Such occasions will do that.

>> I’m really struck by Bush’s sensitivity. I mean, how many photos of him do you remember where he didn’t look either like an impish adolescent or a guy with a chip on his shoulder?

>> I heard Poppy Bush was ill, but where’s Barbara Bush?

>> I might not be completely crazy about Obama but I’m grateful, and proud as well, to see him in the “first pew” (knowing that the Clintons — inevitably, a team and a throwback to the past — could easily have been there instead).

>> This past week — awash as we’ve been in historical images and retrospectives — has pulled for some comparison between Jack, Bobby, Ted and Barack (especially considering how much Obama is loaded with charisma). As such, what stands out for me is how “un-Kennedyesque” Obama has been since the election. Maybe it’s his relative youth, but I find him overly tight and holding back emotionally quite a bit. I equate that “chin up” expression (in this instance, at least) with someone more comfortable in his head than in his heart or belly. (Wish I knew exactly what was going on that moment because Bubba and Dubya — perhaps finally freed to be a person — seem to be clearly riding it.)

Your thoughts?

(image: Reuters/Brian Snyder/Reuters. Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Boston, Massachusetts. August 29, 2009)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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