Sen. Edward Kennedy

Ted Kennedy, 46-year-Massachusetts Senator and champion of the poor, died last night.

He was an icon in my uber-liberal home growing up, and at an early age I learned to be thankful for the man largely responsible for my being able to vote at 18, enjoy the benefits of sports equally because of Title IX, and see the kids around me who were not born to the privilege I was benefit from the civil rights bills whose relief from segregation only their parents could grasp. I remember writing — I’m not sure what — about Kennedy in my Jr. High diary, and I grew up secretly seeing my Dad as a man like Ted Kennedy. Both had that magnificent shock of dark, wavy hair and the wide-jawed smile, both were committed and intelligent liberals, and both were flawed — but were men of character and integrity at their core.

This country will miss his passionate commitment to justice, equality, and a social safety net woven from the fibre of our collective best natures. I’m sure some of our local Reconstructionists will sneer at our mourning, but God can deal with them today. I choose to remember a man who was deeply troubled by the plight of the many, a man who wanted to “break the gridlock” in our society that kept prosperity the right of a few. I lived with a man like that in my father, and I grew up admiring the far more powerful man he reminded me of.

In lieu of flowers, pass healthcare reform.

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