Thursday, August 27, 2009

Edward M Kennedy

I'm from Massachusetts. I was born here and lived most of my life here. We certainly know the Kennedys here.

They didn't bring us Camelot. They weren't the saviors some folks would like to make them out to be. They were a family of power and privilege. But the three Kennedy brothers, each in his own way, tried to make things better. And Ted Kennedy lived that legacy.

Ted Kennedy was far from a perfect person. Aside from his personal troubles, he sometimes allowed political expediency to dictate his senate votes. He opposed the Cape Wind project, apparently because it would hurt tourism on Cape Cod. He supported the war in Afganistan.

However, Kennedy more often took a principled stand in a progressive direction. He opposed the war in Iraq, opposed the Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, and has supported gun control, alternative energy, and same-sex marriage, as well as working on raising the minimum wage. And he made his dying years a struggle to make sure everyone got adequate health care.

I used to believe that politicians didn't make that much difference--no matter who is in power, the real work needs to be done in communities, building a new society from the ground up. I once said that if a radical leader was elected promising to change everything, I'd be scared, since I've seen what top down social change looks like. But Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, and Dick Cheney have taught me the damage conservative politicians can do.

I now believe it's important to elect progressive liberals, if only to protect us from those who would try to turn back our efforts. And Ted Kennedy, with forty-six years in the Senate, was one of our strongest progressive voices. I often didn't make those calls to Congress or worry about influencing whatever bills were in Congress, because I knew Kennedy and my other Massachusetts Senator (John Kerry) along with my congressional Representative (Mike Capuano) would vote the way that was needed.

No matter who replaces Kennedy, it won't be the same. Ted Kennedy devoted his life to championing liberal and progressive causes. He will be missed.

Quote of the day: "... the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." - Edward M Kennedy


BostonPobble said...

I could've written this post myself (except for the being born in MA part). Thank you for it.

MoonRaven said...

Thank you for your comment. I think Kennedy's death was a loss for all of us.