We lost a good man today. Well, yesterday, but I woke up to the news today. Senator Ted Kennedy, the last of the fabled Kennedy boys, has left this world. He has been in serious decline for the last year or so, so I can’t say it was a shock to wake up to the sad news this morning. I can say, however, that it was still startling to lose him right now. I feel an ineffable sadness that I can’t explain. The assassinations of JFK and RFK were before my time, so their impacts on me weren’t as immediate as they would have been if I’d been alive at the time.
Teddy Kennedy is the only Kennedy man I’ve ever really known. Yes, he was the drunk driver in the car that killed Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969. The fact that he was a Kennedy probably got him out of serving any jail time. Still, he had a decision to make at that time. He could continue to drink and do stupid, stupid, stupid things, banking on his family name to get him through scrapes, or he could man up and do something worthwhile, damn it. He chose the latter and spent the rest of his life atoning for the grievous sins of his youth.
His last great passionate was universal healthcare. He worked so hard to pass a bill that would ensure that every American would have health insurance. He fought and he fought, damn it, until his body gave out. There are some on the right (yes, I’m looking at you, Michelle Malkin) who warn the left that we better not use this moment to push through healthcare reform. We better not make it political, damn it, but her saying that isn’t political in the least, is it?
I have stayed away from the political blogs for most of the day. However, it’s not because I can’t stomach what the right is saying and doing on this day, but because I am disgusted by some on the left who are truly twisting this into a partisan game–specifically as a way to get in yet another poke at President Obama.
Look, I’m not an Obama apologist–far from it. However, I am mighty sick and tired of people on the left looking for every opportunity to put him down, no matter what the circumstance. One commenter said something to the effect that it was a shame ”Barry” had chosen to take a golf vacation with his corporate golfing buddies rather than spend time with Senator Kennedy in his dying days. In general, I am tired of the ‘Obama’s the same/worse than Bush’ crowd, also on the far left. Senator Kennedy had great faith that Obama would truly effect a change–why can’t you give Obama the slightest benefit of a doubt?
In a thread over at BJ, one of the commenters asked Senator Kennedy not to rest just yet because there was still work to be done. I know it’s selfish of me, but I request the same thing. Senator Kennedy, progressives need you more than ever right now. Do what you can to get the healtcare reform passed (one with a public option), and then, you can have the rest you so richly deserve.
As you make your journey to the other side, I enfold you in a white light to make sure you make it safe and sound. My deepest condolences to your family.
P.S. Here is Boyz II Men’s It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday
And, here is Ted Kennedy’s beautiful, moving eulogy for his brother, Robert Kennedy. Thank you, Senator Kennedy, for the countless years of service you’ve given to your country. Soon, Senator Ted Kennedy, you WILL be able to rest in peace.