Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Lion is Dead

Goodbye Senator Ted Kennedy

I got an email from Politico announcing this:

{{w|Ted Kennedy}}, Senator from Massachusetts.Image via Wikipedia

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port, Mass., the Kennedy family said in a statement. Kennedy, 77, "liberal lion of the Senate," had fought a public battle with cancer. "He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him," the family said.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy died two years before I was born. Like Obama I have memories not directly, but through his work and persona. The space program is what I remember President Kennedy for. I remember watching a film of the "We Choose to Go to the Moon" speech when I was in third grade. Then watching astronauts land on the moon.

I have vague memories of Robert Francis Kennedy. It wasn't until college that I began to get a sense of the Kennedy legacy and the terrible tragedy of Robert Kennedy's death.

My memories of Edward Moore Kennedy (Teddy) are much more vivid. There was a Libertarian nutcase when I was a database manager at the Sahara Hotel & Casino. I worked on an ancient machine called the IBM System38. He was convinced that all Democrats were evil and their leader was Ted Kennedy. He went on and on about the Chappaquiddick incident.

Lucky for me, he was such a complete lunatic in other ways I mostly ignored him, but that image of Ted Kennedy remained until my third year in college. I'd become much more liberal then and I learned the other history. The other history that included Kennedy's work in health care and as an advocate of the disabled. He was a warrior for Civil Rights, but he was able to seek compromise and concessions from the Republicans.

In my political life, I grew up with Ted Kennedy - he was a teacher.


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