Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edward Kennedy: 1932 - 2009

I cannot put into words the important role that Edward Kennedy played in American politics over the past half century. Even as a writer, my words wouldn't do any good in describing the accomplishments this man has done in the name of public service.

It'd be enough for some to simply say he was a "Kennedy," and therefore understand that he held a certain place in our hearts. Yet, he was more than just the name, more than just a member of a prestigious family in U.S. politics.

Ted Kennedy was a champion of the people. He worked hard for the past 47 years as a Senator to ensure that equality and justice for all was more than just a nice catch phrase. Working on reforms ranging from civil rights to education, immigration to health care, and much, much more, Kennedy was a tireless advocate from the day he assumed office until the day of his death.

It is unfortunate that his death must come at a time when emboldened extremists on the right will undoubtedly try to tarnish his legacy, to make his life's work seem inconsequential. To be sure, he didn't live a perfect life, having his share of scandal over his time as Senator. But for all his mistakes, for all the flaws he exhibited, in the bigger picture the legacy of Edward Kennedy will not be those mistakes or flaws -- the legacy he has painted for himself will be one of a man dedicated to public service and to his country.

It would be a fitting tribute to his life to pass health care reform, an issue he called the "Cause of my life." For Teddy, it would be better than any memorial in his image could ever capture.

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