Sunday, August 30, 2009

Edward Kennedy: RIP

Read the last quote of this article. It's a moving, eloquent assessment of the need for health care reform. As many of us know, Edward Kennedy recently died after a long battle with brain cancer. He lasted far longer than any experts predicted, who thought he'd be dead within six months of diagnosis. While that's usually the case, Ted lived for over a year.
Despite the unfortunate Chappaquiddick incident, which left an innocent woman dead, and Kennedy a reviled figure and symbol of how the rich and powerful protect their families from actions that would land the rest of us in jail, Kennedy was a tireless fighter for the left. And, among conservatives, he was as hated for this even more than Chappaquiddick. Right to the end of his life, he fought for health care reform. I heard someone say, after Kennedy's passing, that, although President Obama will likely honor the late senator with a moving eulogy, the best way to honor Kennedy's memory would be to finally get health care reform passed. And I agree. There would be nothing that would have made Ted Kennedy happier than to see every citizen of the United States have access to affordable health care. In his memoir, soon to be published, Kennedy expresses his regret and remorse for the woman who died as a result of the car he drove off the Chappaquiddick Bridge, and his later drinking problem. Even in his tormented personal life, he held nothing back at the end.
It's odd to think of a world without Ted Kennedy. While his brothers John and Robert died far too soon to fulfill their promise, Ted spent his long life crusading and getting laws passed for working wages, affordable health care and social programs for the poor. I never thought Ted would die. After Chappaquiddick, campaigning for Obama despite the cancer eating away at his brain, and living with the cancer longer than anyone expected, he seemed indestructible. But, in the end, he was just as human as the rest of us, and fought to make the human struggle a little easier. Rest in peace, Ted.