The Chappaquiddick Society was founded in 1996 by a wide
variety of political leaders of New York City. The obvious inspiration for the Chappaquiddick Society was the event in 1969
in which Senator Ted Kennedy's car plunged off a bridge on that island and by his own admission the Senator abandoned
to die the car's other inhabitant, Mary Jo Kopechne, a young volunteer in a Kennedy family political campaign.
The Chappaquiddick Society quickly caught on with the 'movers and shakers' of America's elite, and the New York
Post's columnist Neil Travis was one of our most ardent supporters. Neil ran many stories of our exploits, and other Media
venues, including radio talk shows, also have brought to America our unique blend of political satire, in which we use humor
to best denigrate public officials, while at the same time maintaining a serious tone in championing the cause of those women
and children who have been victimized, often by the rich and famous. Among the Founders of the Society was a close friend
(and Democrat) of Jennifer Levin, whose tribute is among those to be found on the Home Page of this website. Now entering
it's third numerical decade, the Society has held to public scrutiny Democrats and Republicans, men and women, friends
of the Kennedy Family as well as their critics, the rich and the poor, those whose names are instantly recognizable, as well
as those who sought to escape Justice through their anonymity.
In August, 2009, as the American people were re-examining the life of the newly departed Senator Ted
Kennedy, Ed Klein, a friend of Kennedy’s whose credentials included being Editor of Newsweek Magazine and the New York
Times Magazine, made the stunning revelation, in an interview on National Public Radio, that Senator Kennedy loved “Chappaquiddick
jokes” and eagerly solicited from his family and friends as to whether they had heard any recent such jokes. This statement,
available on-line at sites including YouTube, created an uproar among Conservative radio talk show hosts nationwide, who blasted
Kennedy’s remark as an indication of no remorse on his part for the incident which took the life of Mary Jo Kopechne.
Ed Klein however, the author of “Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died,” maintained that the Senator was wracked
with remorse over the death of Kopechne, and that his fondness of Chappaquiddick jokes was just a reflection of his famous,
if somewhat unorthodox, sense of humor.
tradition, the Society announces the Nominees for the Profile in Cowardice Award each year in early December. Voting then
takes place up until the end of December, and anyone can cast their vote. Every year, upon announcing the Nominees for the
Profile in Cowardice Award, it is the hopes of those who maintain this Society that in the next year we will not be able to
come up with a comparable list of public figures who exhibited cowardly behavior that warrant such a nomination. Each year,
our hopes and dreams of a better world have been disappointed.
J. R. de Szigethy
President, The Chappaquiddick Society