Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Godspeed, Senator Kennedy

Until late last night, I was disappointed with the Democratic National Convention. When we turned the television on early in the evening, most were behaving like crazed teenagers at a rock concert...screaming, grinning and gesturing at the TV cameras, gyrating and swaying to loud rock music. I expected them to start waving their lighted Bics at any moment.
Don't get me wrong; conventioneers should be enthusiastic, but I think it has been a little "over the top" this year.
Nevertheless, I tuned in again sometime after midnight. And I'm glad I did; I was just in time to watch a tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy. Although ill with a malignant brain tumor, he gave a patriotic and moving speech.
Senator Kennedy is currently the second-longest-serving senator. My admiration for him stems from his more than four decades of devotion to the everyday working men and women, the less-fortunate, children, and the elderly.
Among other things, he helped pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Kennedy-Hatch Bill of 1997 (providing health insurance to children), allocation of 1.2 billion for AIDS testing, treatment and research, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities and the Family and Medical Leave Acts. He helped pass the Medicare and Medicaid bills, and pushed for cancer research funding. He has worked for decent health care, the environment, education for all Americans ("It should be a right, not a privilege," he says), increases in the minimum wage, the Meals-on-Wheels program for shut-ins and the elderly. All while serving as a father figure to his two slain brothers' children.
Despite all of the above, some still talk of only one thing when his name comes up: Chappaquiddick. And I understand their bitterness; a young woman's life was lost. But I would be willing to bet seldom a day goes by that he doesn't think about that terrible July night in 1969; what he could have done, what he should have done, why he put himself in that situation in the first place.
When a man spends his life as an advocate for you and me and all Americans, I think he deserves some redemption.
Thank you, Senator Kennedy, and Godspeed.


Suzanne said...

Amen! I totally agree.

Sandra Ree said...

I second that!

Anonymous said...

Third! (Great post.)

What did you think of Hilary's speech?

mlh said...

Fourth - only because I showed up late!

Thanks for the post, Brenda!

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley