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Good bye Teddy and thank you

I wasn't going to post about Teddy Kennedy's death because there sure has been a lot of coverage; but Greg Laden asked us for our favorite stories about Teddy Kennedy and as one who was born and bred in MA and returned to live in MA in my mid30's, I have so many stories.

My grandfather knew (and didn't like) Joe Kennedy (those stories are for another post) and when I was a child, my priest's housekeeper told me it would be a sin "to support Jack Kennedy for president just because he was Catholic" (I was 12). As I grew up I heard all the Teddy stories (both the funny and the bad ones). However, as I became an adult I became increasingly aware of the differences he was making in our everyday lives--including in my own when because of Kennedy Kassebaum my sister's cancer treatment was covered by insurance.

I always said I wouldn't want my sister to marry him (although actually that may have been better than.... sorry bad digression) but I was damn glad he was my senator. He made the world better, I thank him and so morn his loss.

BTW my favorite Teddy Kennedy story--we met him in his office and he had pictures taken. He sent one of me, my sister and our whole families to my mother with a signed note thanking her for raising such a fine bunch of Democrats. Her response was "Democrats;I'm no Democrat"; but she kept the picture and showed it to everyone who visited.

Good bye Teddy and thank you.


It has been said too many times that he never lived up to his potential, that he will forever be overshadowed by his two brothers. I disagree. Given the limited time that fate would allow them, their legacies are decidedly eclipsed by their little brother's. As John Meacham said this morning on the Morning Joe program, "He certainly belongs in the company of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster." As legislators, Jack and Bobby aren't even in Teddy's league. It's not even close.

So many "red state Americans" who regarded him with suspicion if not outright hatred, will probably never even realize how much they owe Senator Kennedy. It's kind of sad that a lot of the people Kennedy worked the hardest for despised him with a passion born of decades of anti-Kennedy propaganda. Nothing was handier for a Republican running in a conservative district than the image of Bogeyman Ted in a campaign ad. It usually worked.


I wonder how these people would react if tomorrow - just for a day, mind you - every law Teddy Kennedy is responsible for were made null and void. Call it a hunch but I have a strong feeling that more people than you might suspect are going to miss him now that he's gone.

Teddy, they hardly knew ye!

We're a better country because for seventy-seven years Teddy Kennedy walked amongst us. His impact on the country he loved so much will be felt for generations. The loss his passing means to progressive politics in the United States is incalculable. We need him at this moment in history more than we ever needed him before. It's so unspeakably sad. He's gone and he's not coming back. Now he belongs to the ages.

In the good old Irish Catholic tradition, tonight I'll be drinking a toast or two (or twelve) to you, Ted. Sleep well and thanks.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

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