As the entire world now knows, Senator Edward Kennedy has lost his fight to brain cancer.
There have been, and will still be, millions of words written about America’s Senator, and I would be remiss not to add my own thoughts.
First and foremost, I take great comfort in knowing that man with great flaws can still achieve great things. As we are all flawed, Senator Kennedy’s example of overcoming flaws serves to show each of us and all of us to always to be better, to do better, and to look to better days. His example allows me to learn from my own mistakes instead of dwelling upon them.
Ted Kennedy joined the U.S. Senate when I was about four months old. For my entire life, his family has served as an example of public service. As I became interested in politics, I was drawn to the legacy of President Kennedy’s charisma and ability to inspire. As I became a student of politics, I was drawn to Senator Robert Kennedy’s ideological transformation after his brother’s death. As I matured in political thought and reasoning, I became totally enamored in Senator Edward Kennedy’s ability to see the big picture, to compromise when necessary, and to incrementally make gains that benefit all Americans, and, indeed, all humanity.
Two weeks ago, I held a healthcare roundtable. It was a very civil discussion, where I got a chance to better understand the difficulties faced by working families due to for-profit healthcare. As person after person told the stories of a broken system that left family members either without coverage or with crippling bills, I couldn’t help but think that we can do better. We must do better.
I told the “Organizing for America” representative that was present, “Please tell President Obama that it will be one of America’s great failures if Senator Kennedy were to pass without true healthcare insurance reform being enacted.” How I wish America’s Senator could have lived to see true reform of America’s healthcare system.
I am a proponent of a single-payer system. Given the opportunity, I will vote for single-payer, understanding, as Senator Kennedy did, that we may have to get there incrementally.
Despite that understanding, I call on our Democratic majority to start anew on crafting a bill that will truly provide universal coverage. I call on the conservative elements of our party to stop carrying the water of the Republican Party and the multi-billion dollar insurance companies. I call on my President to understand that no member of the Republican Party of No is going to vote with us, no matter how much we compromise.
Mr. President, in your inaugural address you offered to extend a hand, if our opponents would unfold their fist. They have not, and you should withdraw your hand of compromise on this particular issue. We have the votes to pass a major bill of reform, and we should pass the legislation for which a majority of Americans voted in November 2008.
TeamTudor’s thoughts are with the Kennedy family tonight. We mourn a great legislative leader, a friend of working families, and an example of greatness overcoming weakness.
Your brother, Doug