May I call you Teddy? We have been through so much together, I feel I knew you. I hope wherever you are tonight, you are able to comprehend, on some level, that your lifelong dream has come true.
You probably wouldn't like the bill as it is at this point, but, I think I know what you'd say. "It's a start." You always said change is made in small steps. The Reconciliation bill will undoubtedly pass the Senate this week. I can't imagine that the Senate Democrats, many of whom you would have been ashamed, by the way, would dare NOT pass it. After all, they professed to dislike the bill as it was, because there were too many deals made, and those deals are rescinded in the Reconciliation bill. But, who knows what will happen, the Democratic Party being what it is.
One thing this long fight has done is, introduce us to a man named Bart Stupak, who has stubbornly voted his conscience every step of the way. He is Pro-Life, in a party that is mostly Pro-Choice, and he fought for what he believed, relentlessly voting "no" in the face of tremendous pressure from his peers in the House. He finally did give in, at the eleventh hour, but not until he was able to get President Obama to sign an Executive Order, assuring him and other Pro-Life members that the new healthcare bill would not allow for Federally funded abortions. He actually wanted more than that, but, like you, he was flexible enough to realize that this was the most he could get, and he really wanted Healthcare to pass. So, when he got on board, he got on all the way, suffering the glares and slurs thrown at him by the Republicans. One man in the chamber actually called him "baby-killer". We ought to know who yelled that out by tomorrow, if the media has its way.
I don't have to tell you how uncivil politics has become, and how unyielding the Republicans are. Somehow, I think if you had lived long enough, you could have maybe cajoled at least one or two "yes" votes out of them. But, no matter. Your party did it without them, many putting their political lives on the line in order to do the right thing.
Teddy dear, I'm betting that you haven't been resting very peacefully up to now. But, as of tonight, you can be proud that your dream didn't die with you. The work will go on, and the cause will endure. Your dream will, truly, never die.
The Lion of the Senate sleeps tonight.