R.I.P. Senator Kennedy (1932-2009).
Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy died last night of brain cancer just before midnight EDT. He was 77. He was flawed: At least at one point in his life, he drank too much and, allegedly, he was a womanizer for some time. It is certain that he left the scene of the car accident in Chappequidick where a female aide drowned. Pride led him to challenge a sitting president of his own party (Jimmy Carter) for president in 1980–taking the fight into the Convention and leaving the Democratic Party divided–at least CONTRIBUTING to Ronald Reagan’s victory. He walked away from a healthcare bill in ’72 that Nixon would have signed that was arguably stronger than anything now on the table because he didn’t think it was good enough.
But Ted Kennedy, whose family saw such grief and tragedy, was also a strong champion of the weak. He who was raised in wealth, constantly fought for the poor. He championed civil rights. Though he, like his brothers, had served in the military, he struggled constantly for peace, to end nuclear and biological and chemical weapons, to cut military budgets in order to pay for things for the common good. He championed the rights of women and of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered folk. He stood up for civil liberties. He constantly fought for universal healthcare–and the absence of his voice in the senate this year has been greatly obvious. He fought for teachers and unions and the elderly.
Ted Kennedy was the “liberal lion” who accomplished great things even when his party was out of power because he worked VERY hard.
He also took care of all his many nieces and nephews of slain brothers Jack and Bobby and showed up at nearly every family function.
He was a devout, if very imperfect, Catholic Christian–who understood the “preferential option for the poor,” long before that phrase was coined.
Rest in peace, Ted Kennedy, you will be missed. Who now will take up the torch of the Liberal Lion of the Senate?
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