Circling the Square
I have taken a representative election poll of eleven Harvard students and Faculty members from all walks of life and come up with results so astounding as to merit publication in these columns.
In answer to a major question: "Which candidate do you hate?" ten out of the eleven immediately snapped "Teddy." The eleventh, a devout Christian, claimed that his religious principles prevented him from hating anybody, but said he'd roast in Hell before voting for Teddy Kennedy. The results are noteworthy because of the vague wording of the question. Since I asked not "which Massachusetts senatorial candidate" but merely "which candidate" one must conclude that of all the men who are running for state and local offices throughout the country, none is more hated at Harvard than Teddy Kennedy.
The second question was: "Name another candidate whom you hate." One respondent, a freshman, mentioned the ex-principal of his high school, who was running for the state legisature in Idaho. But the others couldn't come up with any valid choices. Three gave no response; two named Ethel Kennedy, Teddy's sister-in-law; four named Carolyn Kennedy, the candidate's four-year-old niece, and the Christian, a professor of History, said he hoped Sam Beer would roast in Hell. (Beer is a faculty member who has come out in support of Teddy's candidacy.) Needless to say, Carolin, Ethel and Professor Beer are not bona fide candidates for any office.
If the sampling is representative--and I would feel personally insulted if anyone suggested otherwise--it can be stated conclusively that:
1) Ten out of 11 Harvard men hate Teddy Kennedy, and the eleventh doesn't like him much.
2) The Harvard community has a strong tendency to express hatred for people associated with Teddy Kennedy, even when the wording of the question discourages such a response.
3) Devout Christians do not hate but may have violent dislikes.
The first two of these findings are so puzzling as to merit further analysis. On the face of it, the hatred for Teddy seems inexplicable. There are certainly crookeder, uglier, and less personable politicians than Teddy Kennedy. There are certainly those who are less intelligent and more poorly educated and informed. Yet of all the candidates he incurs the wrath of Harvard. Why?
Further questions in the poll were aimed at settling this point. When respondents were asked to give their reasons for hating Teddy, the following answers were most frequent:
* he never worked a day in his life
* he is a nincompoop
* he will merely be a mouthpiece for his brother. the President
* he made a mockery of democracy in Massachusett by beating McComack in the state primary.
Of course, these criticisms are irrational. Not only do they not justify hatred; what is more they do not even prove Teddy unqualified for a Senate seat.
* Thomas Jefferson never woked a day in his life before entering public service.
* Nincompoops generally become chairmen of Senate committees.
* As a mouthpiece for his brother, Teddy would add a fresh voice to Senate debate. It is about time we had someone who could speak the President's mind honestly, since the President himself finds this so difficult under the burdens of High Office.
* Teddy did not make a mockery of the democratic processes, the Massachusetts voters did. They preferred his broad shoulders, bright smile and famous name to McCormack's qualifications and experience.
Thus, the reasons which the Havardmen gave to justify their hatred were manifestly fallacious. The respondents were obviously hiding something. Luckily, the poll was designed to reveal the hidden motives for hating Teddy. "What are your hidden motives for hating Teddy?" the eleven were asked.
"Is it not because you believe in democracy? Because you think the most qualified candidate should win? Because you cannot endure seeing a man ride to victory on the assumption that democracy is a fraud? Is it not true that you hate Teddy because you cannot bring yourself to hate the real culprits, the voters of Massachusetts?"
To a man, the respondents broke down and confessed. They could not bear, they said, to see a great American institution like democracy proved fraudulent. Sobbing, they admitted that they felt the same way about baseball. They knew that the game had changed very much but had always insisted that it was the Yankees who were responsible, the Yankees who were making a mockery of baseball. To believe otherwise would be tantamount to admitting that the faith of their youth was wrong.
"And after this confession do you still believe in democracy, in baseball and the rest? Do you still hate Teddy Kennedy and the New York Yankees." Eleven out of eleven answered "Yes."
From my poll three final conclusions emerge:
1) Harvard men hate Teddy because they have faith in the old classical idea of democracy.
2) Eleven out of eleven Harvard men are basically irrational.
3) There is a close correlation between democracy and baseball. Now that the New York Yankees have won another World Series it is reasonable to predict that Teddy Kennedy will win the Massachusetts Senatorial election.