Ted Kennedy on Education and Democracy
Ted Kennedy: It was perhaps the first or second day, and my brother had been elected to the Congress. And he asked me whether I wanted a tour of Washington, and I welcomed the opportunity. And he brought me around to the House of Representatives; and brought me to the United States Senate; brought me over to the Supreme Court of the United States; pointed out the White House along with those magnificent monuments — the Lincoln [Memorial], Washington Monument.
But he gave advice to me then which has really stuck with me. I was probably twelve years old at the time, and he said, “Look. You’ll visit the buildings now. You’ll see these buildings.” But he said, “The really importance of this visit is that you take an interest in what happens inside these buildings for the rest of your life.”
And I thought, “Well that’s a nice sort of idea, but you know, when are we going to get hot dogs or something or other, or go to a baseball or a football game?”
But the resonance of that message has stayed with me all of my life, and it was good advice at that time. And it’s advice that I share when young people come from Massachusetts and visit the Capitol. It’s the only way, really, our Democracy is going to work is if people take the interest, take the time, involve themselves in the political life of our country. It’s enormously important.
Recorded on: September 14, 2007