"He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it's hard to imagine any of them without him. " — statement from Edward Kennedy's family.Senator Edward M. Kennedy died late Tuesday night. He was 77 years old and fighting brain cancer. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1962 until his death.
I know there will be many glowing and not-so-glowing tributes to this good yet flawed man, but here I would like to simply state my thanks for his diligent work towards progressive causes: the National Cancer Act, the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Mental Health Parity Act, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Despite being born to privilege, Senator Kennedy was clearly an ally to every minority that faced discrimination and diminished opportunities. His compassion was reflected in his legislation, and he changed America for the better.
And quite possibly he was able to effect 46 years of change because he was never president:
But his failure to get to the presidency opened the way to the true fulfillment of his gifts, which was to become one of the greatest legislators in American history. When their White House years are over, most Presidents set off on the long aftermath of themselves. They give lectures, write books, play golf and make money. Jimmy Carter even won a Nobel Prize. But every one of them would tell you that elder-statesmanship is no substitute for real power.Sadly, Ted Kennedy has died just as the "cause of his life" -- health care reform -- needs his vote. I hope this dream doesn't die with him. I hope there is a renewed zeal to provide quality health care for all. And I hope we can honor Ted Kennedy by naming such a landmark bill after him.
Rest in peace Teddy Kennedy.