Sic transit gloria

 Exterior of the grandiose Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, in Boston.

Exterior of the grandiose Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, in Boston.

Adapted from an item in Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary'' column in GoLocal24.com

Perhaps memories are short, people are just sick of politics or it’s the effect of the failure of the schools to teach civics. Or maybe most citizens don’t want to worship recently departed politicians, even if they’re from a celebrity family.

I’m talking about the taxpayer-subsidized (through its tax exemption) Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which is next door to another hagiographic temple --- the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum – on Columbia Point in Boston’s Dorchester section. Promoters of the monument to the long-serving U.S. senator had projected that the facility would draw up to 150,000 a year, but it has only been luring about 62,000. (Columbia Point, by the way., used to be the site of a grim, gritty and a crime-ridden public housing project.)

That’s despite such over-the-top features as replicas of the Senate Chamber (!) and of the senator’s office in the Capitol.

Life speeds on and memories are short, even regarding someone who served in the Senate from 1962 until his death in 2009 and sponsored important legislation, some good and some bad. The Kennedy clan (with its retainers) has long been among the most self-promotional in American history but the number of those who remember and adore it from its glory days is falling fast. Perhaps its latest star, the bright, modest, congenial and hard-working Massachusetts Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, can revive the clan’s national fortunes.