Thursday, August 27, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy - 1932-2009

Photobucket "Every American should have the opportunity to receive a quality education, a job that respects their dignity and protects their safety, and health care that does not condemn those whose health is impaired to a lifetime of poverty and lost opportunity."

He was the baby in a family of nine children. It should never have fallen to him to be the patriarch, responsible for a widowed mother and numerous nieces and nephews while he was such a young man, himself. His family suffered many more tragedies than most families. They were survivors.

But, it was the tragedy of Chappaquiddick that marked the turning point of his life. After a weekend of scrambling to protect his career and name, he finally presented himself to the local police and confessed all. It was messy, but you could say that it made a man of him. He spent the rest of his life, whether consciously or not, atoning for his horrible mistake.

For the next four plus decades, he worked tirelessly in the Senate. He wrote or helped to write hundreds of laws designed to help those less fortunate than himself. He championed the causes of, among others, civil rights, education, the environment and healthcare for all.

He was an unapologetic Liberal, and consistent in his actions. He simply never gave up, even after he was diagnosed with the cancer that would end his extraordinary life. He continued to work tirelessly until he could no longer go to the Senate and then he worked from home.

The Lion of the Senate will roar no more. It is truly the end of an era.

"For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we made."

Bon Voyage, Teddy. Smooth Sailing.


Arkansas Patti said...

Very nice Betty and thank you. It was wonderful having such a man in our corner. He not only cared, he did.
One thing I am learning about him is how much his political enemies, respected and truly liked this man.
I have heard so much that I can't attribute it to a particular person but the gist was, "though he would have been a grand president, we would have only had his service for 8 years---as a senator, we had him for 40." I feel fortunate for those 40 years.

Margie's Musings said...

He was extraordinary because as a fantastically rich person, he really cared about the less fortunate.

Darlene said...

Teddy was the champion of the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden. He always fought for the vulnerable in our society and he fought hard and long.

There will never be another like him and we liberals will miss his dedication and courage.

Thank you, Betty, for a wonderful tribute.

NitWit1 said...

As his brothers and sisters, except one, have slowly marched into eternity, he bore more than his share of burdenof his burgeoning family --Something he probably never expected, but accepted, and matured in the process.

Barry said...

It's wonderful to hear such great comments from other parts of the country. Having lived in "Kennedy Country" for a majority of my life, I learned to appreciate Mr. Kennedy, despite the negative feeling that some held and still hold for him. Just today I overheard someone saying some horrible things about him. I could not interject my thoughts unfortunately.

There are some frightening people out there. I am glad there are folks like you, and Patti and Darlene (to name just a few) to counter them. Keep up the good fight.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Betty. Thanks.

Margaret said...

Beautifully penned, Betty....He was a man among men...A wonderful soul. Thank you for such a devoted post...

Sansego said...

You wrote a short but powerful remembrance of Ted Kennedy that captures his essence and perhaps even correctly pointed out that maybe the mistake of Chappaquiddick had much to do with his transformation into this great Senator who looked out for the less fortunate.

Both quotes (especially the first one) sums up quite nicely his political and spiritual philosophy. Its a shame that all those who don't want affordable health care for all can't see the benefit it provides for people not to have to worry about health crisis leading to poverty or bankruptcy.

Great job!

Dianne said...

lovely Betty
excellent choice of quotes

Cazzie!!! said...

Ditto Betty ditto.

Leon said...

Thank you Betty.

Betty said...

Arkansas Patti: He did a lot of good in his life.

Margie: He was very caring, indeed.

Darlene: He was a real statesman.

Nitwit1: He never seemed to think of anything as a "burden", though.

gawilli and margaret: Thank you both.

Sansego: I will never understand why some people can't see how much good healthcare reform will do.

Cazzie and Leon: Thanks for your comments.

Dianne: Thanks. I found those quotes on his website.

Maria said...

I have been watching both the memorial at the Kennedy Library and the Funeral mass today, and it is my hope that his lomg held dream for health care for all is right around the corner.

Betty said...

FBF: Sorry, I didn't mean to skip you. Thanks for the comment. I like to hear from other parts of the country and world, too.

Maria: I've been watching, too. I hope the Democrats can get it together long enough to pass healthcare the way he wanted it. I'd like to give the blue dogs a swift kick.

Joy Des Jardins said...

This was a really nice tribute to Teddy. I always admired his dedication to the poor and his hard work for healthcare reform, and I hope all his work isn't lost. It truly is an end of era.

patsy said...

I saw the photo of the people of Mass. lineing the street as his body passed. they knew he was their champion. brought tears to my eyes.

Tincantabloid said...

Well said, Betty. Bon Voyage, Mr. Kennedy. We need more like you in the Senate.

Betty said...

Joy: He overcame so much, and we learned a lot that we never knew about his concern for ordinary people that never got publicized over the years.

Patsy: I was amazed with the crowd of people in Washington, and how patiently they waited for his funeral cortege, just to catch a glimpse of his coffin and to see his wife. I guess I was just expecting to see a dozen or so of his aids.

tincanman: We could use several more like him in the Senate, and in the Congress. But, I can't think of anyone selfless enough, can you?

oklhdan said...

I thought I knew a lot about the man but I learned so much more watching the funeral mass yesterday. I hope his dream of healthcare for all Americans becomes a reality!

June Saville said...

The story of the Kennedy brothers has been astonishing.

I also hope that Teddy's dream for good healthcare becomes a reality for all Americans.
June in Oz

Tom Degan said...

Watching George W. Bush at the funeral of Teddy Kennedy on Saturday was, to say the very least, amusing. It's always great fun to witness the members of the vast right wing conspiracy confronted head-on with the theological flaws that are inherent in their philosophy. Watching that event with my pal, Kevin Swanwick, we both were mesmerized and just slightly overjoyed to be reminded yet again that the basic tenets of Liberalism are in perfect harmony with our Christianity - our Catholicism: feed the hungry, shelter the poor and clothe the naked. Oh, how I wish the camera would have cut to Bush's face the moment he was confronted with the most famous line (and justly so) from the Gospel according to Matthew:

"I tell you this: whatever you did to the least of these brothers of mine, you did to me."

Jesus of Nazareth

One can only imagine how uncomfortable that passage from the scriptures must have made him feel. Or how about the Sermon on the Mount?

"Blessed are the peace makers
For they shall be called Sons of God."

I imagine being confronted with the words of Jesus Christ might make old George just a tad uneasy. The prayers that were offered up by the youngest members of the Kennedy clan, in Teddy's own words, were the most touching part of the entire day:

"That human beings be measured not by what they cannot do. That quality health care becomes a fundamental right and not a privilege. That old policies of race and gender die away. That newcomers be accepted, no matter their color or place of birth. That the nation stand united against violence, hate and war. That the work begins anew, and the dream lives on. We pray to the Lord."

Lord hear our prayer.

After the mass had ended, and Kevin and I headed into town to get a cup of coffee, I was almost stunned by the good cheer I felt. Ted Kennedy's funeral was truly a joyous event. Truth be told, it was damned-near therapeutic! The politics of joy as opposed to the politics of fear. There ain't nothin' like it in the world, Baby!

The stark contrasts between the ideals of the Progressive movement and the right wing's backwards and greedy ideology were out in public Saturday for all to compare and contrast at Our Lady of Perpetual Comfort Church in Boston. The differences were so obvious, you could not have missed them had you tried.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY