The scope is expansive and legendary. Ted Kennedy, born with the ultimate American silver spoon in his mouth,
fought persistently and successfully on behalf of Everyman and the dispossessed among us: minorities, gays, minimum wage earners, the disabled, immigrants, the poor. He even played a role in deregulating airfares, facilitating a ticket to ride for many who may not have gone before. For nearly fifty years, if he was at the club having a martini after a round, it's probably safe to assume he was championing some beneficial cause, gladhanding with his fellow elite.
The Kennedy brothers had our backs in ways no one else did or does; they were civil rights icons. Senator Kennedy's death signifies the end of a political era (eagerly anticipated by some), a generational milestone in a family dynasty, and yields a gaping hole in liberal leadership. There are younger Kennedys doing good things with significant impact, but how many from the platform of public office? How many Kennedy proteges on the Hill or in state legislatures or Governors' mansions?
Ted Kennedy's eulogy of his brother Bobby,can be accurately applied to himself:
My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.Ted Kennedy was a good and decent man, a son of America's royal family, and like any of us, he had shortcomings. His legacy is stained by family and personal tragedyies, none private, but known around the world. Still, even without "enlarging in death beyond what he was in life", it's difficult to fully grasp the breadth of the positive impact of Ted Kennedy's life at work. The most we can do, is stand in line to pay homage before his flag-draped casket, and clasp the hands of his wife and nephew in remembrance. Hopefully, this evening's private celebration of his life will be a huge, happy and raucous Irish wake; maybe it can come close to being as big as the man.