Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

What can be said about Ted Kennedy that you haven't read a million other places today?

The life of the last remaining true progressive authority (there are others more liberal, to be sure, like Russ Feingold or Bernie Sanders) can be summed up in one way I doubt you've read anyplace else.

For all his flaws and faults, he became the lightning rod for right wing hatred.

You don't see Rush Limbaugh making fun of Feingold. You don't see anyone making fun of Bernie Sanders. In his death, even, the right wing extremists are making fun of Ted Kennedy.

You know what that tells me? It tells me that he had them terrified.

Ted Kennedy not only represented a link to a time when liberal legislation was effected, heck, even admired (civil rights, Social Security and Medicare, clean air and water), he ultimately came to embody those core principles of liberal philosophy.

Our lives are better for Ted Kennedy's existence. Here was a wealthy man who understood that rising tides may lift all boats, but that we need not wait for a rising tide to fix those boats that are leaky and in need of repair.

Conservative muttonheads knew this, which is why they toiled so hard to keep mocking his weight or his affairs or his one moment of avoidable tragedy.

Granted, there are some mistakes you never stop paying for, and the tragic death of Mary Jo should be one of those, but that those knucklebrains couldn't find fault with his legislative savvy or his programs and policies speaks volumes about their fear of Kennedy.

Indeed, one might make the case that life's plan included having Kennedy demeaned and belittled, as it would make him a more effective legislator, able to be scrutinized for himself, and not his stances. The distraction became the illusion became the reality.

When JFK said in 1961 "Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans," I wonder if he knew the last surviving torchbearer would be his younger brother, Ted?

I raise my voice and join the chorus of those who have asked that the healthcare reform that Ted Kennedy fought so hard to enact in his lifetime be passed immediately, that President Obama call a special session of Congress, and insist that a public option be included, and that the "Senator Edward M. Kennedy Healthcare Reform Bill of 2009" be passed by unanimous voice vote, in tribute to this man, this great man, this lion of the left.

The torch has been dropped, my friends. Who among us will agree to pick it up, for Ted's sake?