This week has been an eye opener for this lifelong Democrat. The passing of Senator Ted Kennedy has suddenly focused our collective attention on the astonishing professional and personal life of this extraordinary man. I am not much for watching news of the deaths of public figures, but have been transfixed with my television these past few days.
I am not such an innocent, as to be unaware of the faults of Senator Kennedy. One would have had to live under a rock, to be completely ignorant of the terrible stories told about Ted Kennedy. Chappaquiddick, recklessness, drinking, and arrogance were but a few of the poison daggers held against Senator Kennedy.
Even a staunch Democrat like me was angry with him for the 1980 election.
However, I came to love Senator Kennedy in the 1980’s and on, as he stood firm for the liberal causes I believed in. He was often the lone voice; in a sea of cowardice, greed, and the selling of the United States of America to the wealthy and powerful. Paul Wellstone joined him briefly, but I am hard pressed to find anyone else like him in the Senate, over these past 40 years.
Perhaps it is not well known that Senator Kennedy was supposed to be on that fateful flight with Senator Wellstone. While I may never get over the death of Paul Wellstone, as he left us far too soon, I am grateful Teddy changed his mind about flying up to the Iron Range that night. I am glad we had him for another seven years.
Ted Kennedy truly was the Lion of the Senate. No other Senator has achieved more to help our country and all of her citizens. I do not believe there is anyone who has not been touched in some way by his efforts.
What I have come to understand better these past few days, is the ineffable quality of the man in fact. His personal charm, humor, and absolutely electrifying joy in life, helped a true moral compass make a monumental difference for our country and our world. Look for his memoirs “True Compass”, to be released this fall.
Now let us get universal health care passed in the name and honor of our great American Lion.