I am saddened by Senator Ted Kennedy’s death. Like any human being, he had his flaws, but his heart was in the right place, and he made this world a better place for millions of people. I am also frustrated that Kennedy was unable to see his life’s work come to fruition in the last days of his life.
Health care reform was Kennedy’s life’s work. He led efforts to overhaul the health care system in 1974, 1977, 1994, in 2005 in his home state of Massachusetts and now in 2009. It was apparent that this was the time that health care reform had a chance of passing.
But Kennedy was denied the opportunity to cast his last vote on the issue he cares most about, so some could play politics with a critical issue. Ted Kennedy couldn’t wait through the month of August, and the depressing town hall meetings where people brought signs that threatened the President’s life, told Chris Dodd–Kennedy’s friend and fellow cancer patient–to commit suicide, and auditioned for the role of the "next Joe the Plumber."
It was in this sad August that Ted Kennedy lost his life. Kennedy was unable to see his dream come to fruition so his colleagues could repeat bizarre conspiracy theories concoted by political has-beens. It was in this sad August when legitimate efforts at crafting a bill for the long-time employers of Ted Kennedy (the American people) were shouted down.
I am heartbroken, and angry, at the political turn of events that stalled health care reform long enough for Ted Kennedy to not see his life’s work come to fruition. But I also remember Kennedy’s most famous line–"the dream never dies."
And so it is. Ted Kennedy is no longer with us. But the cause lives on. There is a health care reform bill which bears Sen. Kennedy’s name, and has been voted out of Committee. In Lieu of Flowers, I believe that the Senate should send that bill to the President’s desk in memory of their late colleague.