I actually hoped against hope that Ted Kennedy would somehow manage to rescue “health care for all.” But he was only one man.
He had done so much for our nation; it had seemed inevitable to me that, if he could only conserve his strength, he might pull it off, and this final act could have been the lasting contribution of an outstanding life in the political arena. But the cancer had taken too much from his hardy spirit.
What I’ve come to realize is that forgiveness and acts of redemption are choices we can make. Many of us have made mistakes in our lives. That in most cases we’ve been given a second chance is a blessing. What it comes down to is what we manage to accomplish with the opportunity to redeem ourselves.
We can also choose to be mean-spirited and go to the other side. It’s easier to dwell on the mistakes of yesterday in Ted Kennedy’s long life. But he did, in no uncertain terms, show us what determination and persistence can bring forth once a man finds his true direction, unshackled by the negativity around him.
Being imperfect myself, I don’t know how I’d react to the death of a brother in war, or the death of two others to assassins. Perhaps I’d be concerned about my own life and leave the political spotlight. Maybe I’d seek solace in drugs or alcohol. There’s also the possibility that if I had enough money, I’d withdraw to a life of leisure.
Few of us can say for sure what choice we would make. But the world knows the path chosen by Senator Kennedy.
I can say with certainty that some of the legislation he introduced to Congress had a positive effect on my life and the lives of others. Yes, he certainly redeemed himself, achieving greatness like few others. And there are still deeds long since done that we will never hear about, known to only a few.
For those of you who don’t believe in the things Ted Kennedy stood for: Give his spirit a chance to rest before releasing your venom. As for those of us who believe in the dream, we are mobilizing ourselves, finding our voices.
Truth is, John Kennedy inspired me. Bobby Kennedy motivated me. Ted Kennedy enabled me to finish college and attend grad school through loans and grants he made possible.
All we can do is to take each day one at a time and treasure our lives. The dream will never die, if you’re willing to follow the directives of the late Robert Kennedy about our obligation to help those less fortunate: “If not now, when? If not me, who?” It is time for us to take up the torch.