On the shoulders of giants, we stand.

I’ve tried several times to put into words something meaningful or poignant about the passing of Charles Kennedy and I can’t. Because there aren’t the words to accomplish such a task because he was an incredible man whom words cannot accurately describe. There’s also nothing meaningful or poignant about death. Death just is. It’s messy and it’s painful and it hurts everyone too much that you forget it happens daily.

That’s why I get so angry when I read the tripe that passes for “journalism” in articles by the Mirror.

“My first thought on hearing Charles Kennedy was dead suddenly at 55 was, ‘had he killed himself?’

But of course he had. Because that is what alcoholics do. He may not have done it this week with a blade or a leap into oblivion (we don’t yet know), but he has done it nevertheless. With a steady yet relentless booze-sodden stumble to the grave.”

Alison Phillips, ladies and gentlemen. Her ‘article’ says that it aims to bring light and attention to those suffering with alcoholism. What a disgusting and horrific way to go about it. In one paragraph boiling anything alcoholics do as a “steady yet relentless booze-sodden stumble to the grace.” Clearly, this woman has no concept of what alcoholism truly is or she’d not have written about is a coldly as she has done.

As of writing this, we don’t know how Charles Kennedy passed but what caused his passing is irrelevant. To diminish this man to a struggle he had is offensive to not only to his memory but also to his family. His son will hopefully grow up knowing who his father was and the amazing accomplishments he had and not “with only distant memories of his father and the persistent fury that he chose alcohol over him” as Alison Phillips writes with such conviction you’d think she’d interviewed the child.

So, don’t ever let them tell you that politics isn’t personal because that’s about as personal as something gets.

If you’ve loved someone struggling with alcoholism you know that the label “alcoholic” means nothing in the grand scheme of things. It’s a thing but it’s not their defining thing. To those who knew him, Charles Kennedy would have been Charles first. I doubt if “alcoholic” would have even made the top 5 things that defined who he was. I know I could think of more than 20 things I’d go for before I went with “alocholic” to define the person I lost to it.

Charles Kennedy was a political giant and joins the ranks of many who came before us whose shoulders we now stand on. They deserve our respect. Diminishing someone to their failings isn’t ever okay, but to reduce someone to one word after their death is horrendous. Charles Kennedy was a politician. He was a father. He was a human being. Humans are so intricate and complex and accomplish unthinkable, amazing things. One word does not define us. One word does not define him.


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