I was a kid in 1982 and was an intern in the office of a rightwing Republican senator.

It was the summer the Equal Rights Amendment died. It was the summer I found out I am a flaming liberal Democrat, a concept I didn't question for nearly 20 years until I was confronted with capital gains taxes.

Instead of following legislation sponsored by "my" senator (Hatch), I spent the summer learning about Kennedy. I heard him speak several times, followed his work and admired him from afar.

I also had a crush on him, I guess. He has a sparkle about his eyes. He possesses a brilliant mind (we can also probably agree he lacks -- or has in the past lacked -- even a modicum of common sense).

It's confusing to me that he is most often defined by his relatives and by one night at Chappaquidick.

I think he should be defined by his thoughts and his body of work. He has been an elected official for a very long time, compared to his brothers, who, though brilliant, were not given time to do anything but their best work.

I worked on his presidential campaigns. It did no good.