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August 26, 2009

Sen. Edward Kennedy (1932-2009)

Kennedy, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

We lost one of the strongest progressive voices in the senate last night. Sen. Edward Kennedy succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 77. During his 46-years in the senate, Kennedy's name appeared on virtually every major piece of progressive legislation from civil rights to labor to voting rights. Kennedy famously called the quest for universal health care "the passion of my life."

I took this picture at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last year. Everyone was stunned and delighted that Kennedy was well enough to speak. His appeal for healthcare reform conveyed a special sense of urgency. This man was dying but he was still here rallying the troops one last time for reforms he'd probably never live to see. If he was willing to devote his final months to this struggle, what excuse did the rest of us have?

For further thoughts on Kennedy and the prospects for healthcare reform, check the latest edition of The Media Consortium's The Weekly Pulse.


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Senator Chris Dodd on Ted Kennedy, via email:
I'm not sure America has ever had a greater Senator, but I know for certain that no one has had a greater friend than I and so many others did in Ted Kennedy.

I will always remember Teddy as the ultimate example for all of us who seek to serve, a hero for those Americans in the shadow of life who so desperately needed one.

He worked tirelessly to lift Americans out of poverty, advance the cause of civil rights, and provide opportunity to all. He fought to the very end for the cause of his life – ensuring that all Americans have the health care they need.

The commitment to build a stronger and fairer America, a more perfect union, was deeply ingrained in the fiber of who he was, and what he believed in, and why he served.

That's why he stands among the most respected Senators in history. But it was his sympathetic ear, his razor wit, and his booming, raucous laugh that made him among the most beloved.

Whatever tragedy befell Teddy's family, he would always be there for them. Whatever tragedy befell the family of one of his friends, he would always be there for us. And in this moment of profound grief, our hearts are with his wonderful wife Vicki, his fantastic kids Ted Jr., Patrick, Kara, Curran, and Caroline, his grandchildren, and the wide and wonderful extended family for whom he was always a safe harbor.

I will miss him every day I serve, and every day I live.

Chris Dodd

If he was willing to devote his final months to this struggle, what excuse did the rest of us have?
I tried to put it as well as I could, Lindsay, but that has the punch that Teddy deserves.

This is to offer my sincere condolences on the demised senator Edward Kennedy. Who is not only a national Figure, but it also a personal of mine. I meet him first when I came to the US in 1974, for graduate studies at the University of Pennsylania. We meet on Martha’s Vineyard at a restaurant called a Cat on a Hot Roof owned by Carly Simon, and there after numerous meetings in Boston. I Loved him dearly and still consider him a driving force in American Democracy. I just wish that there were more people like him.

With great appreciation yours
Syed Raza Muhammad Shah
Village Haji Peer Shah
Post office Shadi Palli
District Umerkot Sindh, Pakistan

…like we’ve all been saying, it’s not a good proposition. Look at Canada and all other countries that have this type of health reform…it’s not beneficial to folks who truly need good and quick health attention .

If he was willing to devote his final months to this struggle, what excuse did the rest of us have?

Got that right. The only fitting memorial to the late senator is to get to work and finish what he started.

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