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?