FOR MUCH of America, John F Kennedy Jnr was a special person - the progeny through which a venerated President's ideals and inspiration might spring back to life. Yet Mr Kennedy got no closer to politics than to establish George, a slick magazine blending politics and celebrity. What he might have become and achieved - given a longer, forgiving life - now passes to speculation adding to the mystique of a family that reflects America's hopes and despairs.
JOHN JUNIOR focused as an adult on communicating to others the joy he said he found in politics. Pride there can be for the Kennedy family, that the president's son and namesake navigated a most difficult course with good humour, a measure of dignity - and optimism. But the great sense of possibility that John F Kennedy Jnr carried within him is now apparently lost in the warm waters off Martha's Vineyard, and will not see a new millennium.
IT'S JUST not right to say, as many commentators began to say yesterday, that the "nation mourns John F Kennedy Jnr". That's not real mourning: it's virtual mourning for a virtual person, an image of a person gathered over time from the cathode ray tube.
John Kennedy was a real person. So was Carolyn Bessette. So was Lauren Bessette. Their real families are the real mourners, and all our hearts should go out to them - especially the Bessettes, who have had to endure an unendurable double loss.
In the end, the rest of us are really just watching another episode in the longest-running non-fiction television program of them all - "The Kennedy Curse".
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