kennediesTed Kennedy is dead.  Expected, but somehow surprising nonetheless, as for my generation he’s just someone who’s always been there.  His life in the Senate was a long battle against onrushing twilight.  He may have been the last old, New Deal style liberal still in the Senate, and it was his duty to try and hold the line against what must have seemed to be an endless right wing surge of politicians who believed government’s role was raise up the already rich and powerful and to crush under the heel the weak, poor and sick.

Many will speak of his lifelong desire to see universal health care passed, and what a pity it was that it didn’t occur before his death, but I don’t think it was yet time.  The HELP bill, from his comitee, is nothing like his own bill, which was Medicare-for-all.  Such a bill cannot pass in this Senate, a Senate corrupted by money and steeped in conservative ideology which despises helping ordinary people.  Instead his legacy is simply that he fought the conservatives and their selfish, destructive ideology to the end of his life.

None of us want to spend our lives watching the ongoing destruction of everything we believe in, and the endless battles, so often occasioned by yet another retreat, must have been demoralizing.  Yet nonetheless he kept fighting.  If it is in defeat, rather than victory, that man is measured, then Kennedy measured up well, and always regrouped to fight another day and even won many victories.  His legacy is what remains of liberalism, which he fought for all his life.

The standard has fallen from his hands.  It will be up to others to pick it up and continue the fight he lived his life for.  If there is existence after life, I hope he will find it a time and place of renewal and hope.

Let the old lion rest, and let us hope there are young lions to take his place.

When one of your loved ones goes out of your life, you think of what he might have done for a few more years, and you wonder what you are going to do with the rest of yours.

Then one day, because there is a world to be lived in, you find yourself a part of it, trying to accomplish something–something he did not have time to do. And, perhaps, that is the reason for it all. I hope so.

-Joseph Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s father

Update: Mona Brooks has a good photo here from last year’s convention, but what struck me more was her title “Camelot loses another knight”.  I would say it is more that Camelot’s last knight has died, long after Camelot itself fell.  Of course, Camelot always falls, which only makes it more worth fighting for.