Originally published on August 26, 2009 at Yo Mama For Obama
Senator Teddy Kennedy has passed. His ideas, commitment to helping Americans and dedication to what freedom is all about has not passed.
Kennedy was the bastion of progress in the Senate. In his personal life, early on there were numerous and stupid ethical violations. However, he cleared away the debris from his life, including a transforming and rehabilitating second marriage, and truly became the patriarch of that extended family. He walked Caroline down the aisle and buried John, Jr. He was an early and staunch supporter of Barack Obama and came out fighting for him despite the consequences of a Clinton backlash. And Kennedy always had dogs around him and proved indelibly that children mattered. Not to lessen the importance or denigrate his public service accomplishments, how a person treats animals and children is the mark of a great man. Teddy Kennedy was indeed a great man.
Please read Robert Reich’s brief tribute to Kennedy:
America has had a few precious individuals who are both passionate about social justice and also understand deep in their bones its practical meaning. And we have had a few who possess great political shrewdness and can make the clunky machinery of democratic governance actually work. But I have known but one person who combined all these traits and abilities. His passing is an inestimable loss.
Most Americans will never know how many things Ted Kennedy did to make their lives better, how many things he prevented that would have hurt them, and how tenaciously he fought on their behalf. In 1969, for example, he introduced a bill in the Senate calling for universal health insurance, and then, for the next forty years, pushed and prodded colleagues and presidents to get on with it. If and when we ever achieve that goal it will be in no small measure due to the dedication and perseverance of this one remarkable man. We owe it to him and his memory to do it soon and do it well.
Teddy Kennedy’s legacy lives on. The biggest honor we can bestow upon his memory is to enact health care reform. ur representatives and senators should make a vow to compromise over health care and GET THE JOB DONE. This would be a fitting tribute to the ideals that Kennedy envisioned, not only in health care, but also pertaining to civil rights and education. On top of his vision for a better America, Kennedy got the job done more often than not, by compromising, cajoling and believing. Our nation has no need for the empty lip service currently being offered by Congress: we need action.
That would do Teddy proud: by benefiting Americans, Teddy would have reveled in those benefits. Our new health care legislation should be called "The Teddy".