Friday, May 30, 2008

When Honor Doesn't Do Justice...

A number of interesting political developments has rumbled the area's political map: Senator Kennedy's health and Mayor Domenic Sarno's 180 on the trash fee, which will be discussed in a separate entry later.

The return of Kennedy's health is prompted by the recent suggestion by State Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera to name the new federal courthouse after the Senator. Coakley-Rivera suggested that naming it for him now, before Kennedy has even begun treatment, would be a "visible" commemoration of the Senator's legacy.

There are a number of considerations, however. First of all, Kennedy is not dead and still fighting. It is not only premature to hang up signs "in memoriam" to Kennedy but morose and disrespectful. Although that is not the intent of Coakley-Rivera, it is those things. Secondly, Kennedy's legacy in Massachusetts and the United States at large goes beyond and deserves greater commemoration in our community than merely consigning it to the Federal Courthouse. Any "in memoriam" naming should go to something more in line with Kennedy's favorite causes like health or education. If Coakley-Rivera wants to offer a visible and enduring show of respect, then she should sponsor legislation in one (or more) area that Kennedy supports and see it passed. That way he may see his legacy uplift others while he is still alive!

In a related vein, if the Courthouse is renamed, it should be done in honor Former Mayor and Federal Judge, the late Frank Freedman. When Freedman was appointed to the Massachusetts District Court, the former mayor did not want to truck out to Boston to perform his duties. Leaning on the appropriate people, Freedman established the Western Division of the Statewide Mass. District Court. He brought the court to Springfield and so it should be his name affixed, if it is to be anybody's, to that new gleaming structure on State Street.

It would unfortunate if politics were to play a role here. Freedman, was, it appears, a Republican. Although Freedman was greatly respected, it would not be first time that politics failed to stop at Death's door.

This Blog, admitting its Democratic tendencies, in no way wishes to diminish Kennedy's legacy. Our previous entry on Kennedy's legacy should attest to that. The courthouse, although perfect for somebody like Freedman, given his role in its very existence/need, is too small for a political behemoth like Kennedy. His legacy in our city deserves to be more and greater than that. Above all else, what is the rush to name things for him? This was not even a consideration until we discovered he had cancer. Let's let Kennedy and his family work through this battle. This is a time when he needs his name over a courthouse door a lot less than he needs our prayers and good wishes for a healthy future.

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