Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beyond Teddy Kennedy

I remember watching JFK’s funeral on TV when I was six years old and crying and not really understanding why I was crying. I don’t really remember hearing the news of RFK’s assassination but I have always taken pride that he was in my hometown the week before.

Tuesday night when I was writing yesterday’s blog, the news of Ted Kennedy’s death came across. But I knew I did not really know enough about his life and career to write a respectable and respectful piece, and that I would leave it to others.

The one thought I had Tuesday night was on a theme I have touched upon a few times, which is that there are certain people in the world who you feel are pillars of strength to guard you from bad things and you almost take them for granted. Ted Kennedy has always been one of those for me. One did not have to pay as much attention because Kennedy was there to do it for us.

There has been much made today of Ted Kennedy’s greatness as a Senator. I don’t doubt that. I think what contributed to our thoughts of Kennedy’s greatness was his special place in our national family as the only surviving brother of JFK and RFK.

We as Americans will never get over the assassinations of John and Bobby. It will simply fade from our collective national consciousness as those who have any memories of them fade into the night.

Who will replace Kennedy in what he wanted to accomplish? I had hoped Kennedy would have lived long enough to make the difference in the current health care reform debate that seems to have been hijacked away from the passionate, eloquence of Kennedy by the thuggish, screaming of the town hallers.

Kennedy’s death should be a wake up call to those with progressive ideals and the skills, intellect and talent to carry them through.

This means you, Mr. President.

Perhaps your attempt at bipartisanship is learned from Ted Kennedy’s modus operandi within the Senate. Well, I believe times have changed and a different strategy is obviously needed. I don’t believe saying you promised Kennedy and just naming the health care reform bill after him is enough to get Republicans and errant Democrats on board. Many of these people seem to have lost their souls long ago.

This means you, Mr. Hatch—Moonie alumni.

There are progressives waiting to be led if you are so inclined to lead, Mr. President. We need toughness and rapid response to shifting sands caused by insurance and pharmaceutical industry con men. If we see you are waiting too long we are prepared to go it alone.

One of Reagan’s famous quotes was, “Government isn’t the solution to our problems government is the problem.” Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn said Tuesday that government was not the solution. Obviously what they want is to de-regulate corporations and to corporatize America in education, health care and Social Security, among others.

We don’t want America to become corporatized. With Kennedy gone, we must now do it ourselves, trust no one and take no prisoners.

Good luck on Saturday, Mr. President. We will all be watching for more than just a eulogy. You have a lot of rising to the occasion to do.

What would America be like if JFK and RFK had lived with Teddy in the Senate? Maybe Oliver Stone needs a new film?

All that’s left in the immediate is for Glenn Beck to make some insensitive comments about Kennedy’s death and lose even more sponsors.