Sen. Edward Kennedy, rest in peace

{{w|Ted Kennedy}}, Senator from Massachusetts.
U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy; wikipedia

If you are a college graduate who needed student loans to get that degree – ever more precious in an economic downturn and a competitive work environment – you should be thanking Ted Kennedy today. If you’re a female who got to play sports in schools forced to fund women’s athletics with some semblance of equity to men’s, thank Kennedy for Title IX. If you’re a person who grew up in poverty, working your tail off at minimum-wage jobs and still had too much month at the end of the money, you can thank Kennedy for his push to raise – more than once – the minimum wage. If you or your child are disabled and you’re offered decent education and a chance at work without discrimination? Kennedy and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Kennedy, who served in the Senate for 46 years, died last night at the age of 77 from complications of a brain tumor. He was a life-long Catholic. While he was involved in just about every piece of major legislation that brought a better life to the working poor, the issues closest to his heart were equal rights, health care and education – both improving it in general and improving access to higher education for people of little means. I often think of critics of Kennedy’s – the college-educated pro-life advocates who focus solely on his stance on abortion and stem-cell research – and wonder: Do they realize that their college educations, the brains they trained in university classrooms and now use to mount arguments against killing the unborn, are, in part, gifts from the late Senator? Women, minorities and the poor especially should recognize that without Kennedy’s passion for improving access to higher education for all, many would not have made it into those classrooms.

I once had the privilege of spending two days with Fr. Charles Curran while researching and reporting a story on the controversial priest. Besides discovering that he was about the nicest person I had ever met and by far and away the most humble, I found out what he thought of his critics and supporters. He said one consequence of being a lightening rod for certain issues was that people thought they knew him. Those who liked what he said tended to put him on a pedestal, and those who disliked him tended to demonize him. The truth, he said, was somewhere in the middle: He tried always to do right, but sometimes he failed.

That’s what I think about Edward Kennedy – he was a man who tried to do right, but sometimes failed. He was neither all saint or all sinner but, like all of us, a mixture of both. Still, for all his personal-life struggles, the man never failed to show up for the common man when he took to the Senate floor. He never failed to speak up for the poor and disenfranchised. (And here, to preempt comments that he failed to show up for the unborn, I contend that Kennedy looked out and saw the millions CURRENTLY living in poverty and despair and tried to relieve that suffering immediately. His work positively affected millions of the living, even if he never publicly supported the fewer millions of unborn.) Kennedy was a man born into extreme privilege who considered it his life’s calling to make life better for others. Few of us, I believe, can say the same.

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58 thoughts on “Sen. Edward Kennedy, rest in peace

  1. “Hi Tippy!
    Was she drunk?
    Did she try to hide it because she was cheating on her spouse?”
    I don’t know – no one does. She wasn’t tested, there is unconfirmed gossip about her relationship with the dead young man, she was given a pass because of her family position, and she has never publicly apologised or explained – unlike Teddy.
    But that was not my point, which you realize. My point is that I am not going to condemn her and her entire life and everything she has done based upon one sad error in her personal life.
    I find the condemnation of Teddy seen from right wing nutjobs to be just that, when you look at the entirety of his life and the service that he rendered to the country.
    Obviously most citizens feel the same way, and my flag is at half mast.
    I remember when MLK died similar hatred and condemnation ( he was cheating on his wife, etc) and people celebrating when JFK was assassinated.
    It is expected and predictable from the right, just as it is expected and predictable that they will object when someone refers to them as “haters”.

    1. Hello again.
      I’m no ‘nutjob’ or a hater.
      Familiar with Saul Alinsky? Would you consider him hateful too?
      Do you agree with his tactics on ‘the enemy’ (conservatives):

      “Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear and retreat.”
      “Make the enemy live up to his/her own book of rules. You can kill them with this. They can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

      “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”

      “The threat is generally more terrifying than the thing itself.”

      “In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt.”

      “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.”

      “One of the criteria for picking the target is the target’s vulnerability … the other important point in the choosing of a target is that it must be a personification, not something general and abstract.”

      “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.” For instance, Democrats imply conservatives are racists or that Republicans want to kill senior citizens by limiting the growth of the Medicare system, they imply Republicans want to deny kids lunch money without offering real proof. These red-herring tactics work.”

  2. fortbuckley
    “Wow, Leftfield—you’re an honest-to-god fan of the Viet Cong and the NVA. ”
    I can’t speak for Left, but you sound like you would be surprised that Ho Chi Minh DOES have fans, of whom I number myself.
    He was, after all, the George Washington of his country and led his troops to throw out it’s colonial masters.
    And we were the colonial power attempting to keep the country in subjugation.
    Sadly, sometimes our country fights on the wrong side of justice and freedom, and it is not “patriotism” to support and encourage the government to do so, nor is it fair to our military.
    Something that Kennedy knew but right-wingers like Reagan and Bush never learned – so many more have died needlessly.

  3. Not familiar with Saul Alinsky and although you seem to quote him at length, I have no idea how you relate those quotes to your attack on Senator Kennedy.

    1. Well, you threw out words like ‘right-wing nutjobs’ and ‘haters’, which to conservatives is expected and predictable’ from the left, due to the teachings of Saul Alinsky. That’s his tactics as well.

      Look I don’t hate Ted Kennedy, or anyone else for that matter. I’m not a great debater, nor do I know everything there is to know about politics. Far from it. We all make mistakes and I’m a firm believer in everyone deserves a second chance.
      I just really found that particular crime heinous, I feel he had no regard for the worth of her life, and maybe, just maybe, for reasons of my own, I see her as yet another woman who was the victim of a man and I’m particularly sensitive towards that type of crime.

  4. Saul Alinsky – If you haven’t heard his name yet, it’s probably because you don’t frequent right wing extremist websites.  Saul was the original community organizer from Chicago. He worked with the neighborhoods described in “The Jungle”.   He was decidely radical and wrote a book later in life called “Rules for Radicals” aimed at the New Left of the sixties.  It was a sort of guidebook on organizing at a grassroots level and definitely revolutionary and the source of many of the quotes above. 

    Saul died in 1972 at age 63.  The reason you will likely be hearing his name in the future is that Saul being a community organizer from Chicago, the right wing is hoping that this is enough of a connection with the president that Saul can be used to “rally the troops” by creating the illusion of a philosophical kindredship between Saul and Barack.

  5. “Well, you threw out words like ‘right-wing nutjobs’ and ‘haters’, which to conservatives is expected and predictable’ from the left, due to the teachings of Saul Alinsky”
    I see – and the idea that when words like hater and nutjob are thrown out, they might be in reference to expressions of hate and have nothing to do with Mr. Alinsky ?
    However “sensitive” you may be to one occurrence in his long life, that is no excuse to overlook his many good accomplishments, or to overlook the evil committed in official government service by conservative Senators like Jesse Helms unless you subscribe to a hateful and, frankly, nutty ideology like Senator Helms.

  6. “the right wing is hoping that this is enough of a connection with the president that Saul can be used to “rally the troops” by creating the illusion of a philosophical kindredship between Saul and Barack.”
    I’m not surprised – they all seem to chant the same slogans in chorus – it’s like a religion or something.

    I don’t suppose that they will stop claiming he is an uncircumcised Kenyan Muslim Marxist who hates white people and who is trying to achieve government control of the banks and healthcare and auto factories while he is community organizing ?

    No, I didn’t think so – but don’t call them haters 🙂

    1. I don’t agree with that at all! Only the second part of your sentence:

      “trying to achieve government control of the banks and healthcare and auto factories while he is community organizing.”

      1. If you identify as “conservative” I am quite confident that you are – it is intrinsic in the ideology.
        I’m still waiting to meet a “loving” conservative, but we all know that if one ever appeared he/she would be drummed out of the club instantly.

  7. What do you consider ‘loving’?
    Its sad that someone even has to ask that question.
    Do you feel resentment that some other group (“illegals”, “welfare cheats”, gays, blacks….) are infringing on your life and oppose that ?
    Or, like the Good Samaritan, do you consider everyone your brother and work to support them.
    If so, you are “loving” but no conservative will agree that you are a conservative – you will be a RINO at best.

    1. I know what I consider loving, but I can’t speak for what you consider loving, that’s why I asked.

      I’m not religious, I support secure borders, my best friend who  I adore is gay, as are family members I love dearly. I donate my time and money to charitable contributions, including one I started myself for homeless children in the community. I raised my three kids on my own, plus two I got legal guardianship over, and my children have a Grandfather who is African-America.

      I still consider myself a conservative.

  8. Yes, Jesus was all in favor of “secure borders” as we all know 🙂
    I’m not questioning the “conservative”, I am questioning the “loving”.

    1. Like I said, I’m not really religious, although historically I believe in Jesus.
      I believe in sponsorship, which my brother is currently doing for a family from Guatemala.
      Give your support, time and money for people to come to this country, and stay, live and thrive here. It’s a long term commitment to those you sponsor.
      To me, supporting illegal immigration is a band-aid. Support families to come and stay, legally.

      You do things your way, and I do them my way. I’m no more or less loving than you for it. One of my sons, who I got legal guardianship over when he was 12 after his Mother abandoned him because of her drug use, is from Mexico. Most of his extended family is in prison, and nobody in his family ever graduated from high school. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and I was so proud of him!
      as far as I’m concerned, I’m his Mom and always will be. I’ll do everything I can for him and I’m committed to help him become an American citizen.

      1. It is a very heartwarming story, azmouse.  I’m happy that you were able to help your son overcome some serious difficulties and instill in him the importance of education.  I’m proud of him, too.

        I hope I’ll be able to say how proud I am of my daughter when she graduates tw0 years from now (knock on wood).

      2. Hi leftfield!
        Thanks for your comment. That means allot to me.Ramone is one of two children I have had legal guardianship over. So I feel successful if only for all the success my kids are having. My birth children are Sara (23) Wesley (21) and Sebastian (16). My ‘expanded’ children are Elias (22) and Ramone (21). I have the best Mother’s Day every year! LOL

        All I can say is with a Father like you, she can’t lose.You’ve always been so nice to me, even when we TOTALLY disagree. Who can’t respect a guy like that?

        Besides being a great muse, you love chickens!

      3. By the way, for what it’s worth, I appreciate you having an ongoing discussion with me about this. It’s nice to have someone take the time to get their point across and be willing to hear my point as well, all in a respectful manner.
        You’ve made me stop and think and respond to you sincerely.
        Thank you for that.

  9. Ted Kennedy, for better or worse, he spent half a decade as a servant to the people who elected him.  Here is a great list of his most prominent quotes.  <A HREF=”http://tedkennedyquotes.com/” title=”Ted Kennedy Quotes” target=”_blank”>Ted Kennedy Quotes</A>

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