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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The End Of An Era...

I was sincerely saddened this morning by the news of Ted Kennedy's death.

He was many things to many people. A crusader for civil rights. The champion of the underdog. The last true liberal in the Senate. The voice of the disenfranchised. And yes, to some a criminal.

First and foremost, he was human.

He drank too much. He made mistakes. He made a HUGE mistake way back when in the marshy waters of Chappaquiddick. Do I think he used his name and family connections to get away with manslaughter. Sure. Few wealthy and influential people don't. But I also believe he spent the rest of his life trying to atone for that sin so long ago, committed by a man of a certain age who should have known better than to run.

He's the only one of the dashing Kennedy boys who was spared an assassin's bullet and got to sport a thick shock of grey hair into his 70s. Perhaps that was karma's gift to him--affording him the opportunity to make right of his wrong.

And boy, did he.

Many of the great social programs which help the middle class as well as those less fortunate exist in large part because of the Liberal Lion. He understood what makes this country so special. The bounty of the American Dream is for everyone. We are all in this together, and together we can accomplish great things.

He was the only one left of our fabled Royal Family. The beastly burden of legacy was involuntarily thrust upon his shoulders. He was the baby, for God's sake. His brothers' short lives left gi-normous shoes he was expected to fill. No wonder he drank. Seriously! Good Lord! With that kind of pressure, who wouldn't need to crawl into the bottom of a bottle for comfort. He eventually got his shit together, got his head straight and became one of the most productive Senators in Congress.

I think his brothers would have been proud.

Once upon a time, there was an idyllic mind-set called Camelot wherein hope lived. Where we all believed the world was good and nothing was impossible. Teddy was the last and the loudest member. Even though the original cast of this fictitious Eden have all passed away, their ideals live on. For that we all owe him a tip of the hat and an enormous thank you.

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for your resolve. You have served your country and its people very well indeed.

Now go on. Have fun with your brothers.

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