Edward Kennedy, the last of the four Kennedy Brothers, Senator for Massachusetts, the “Democratic Icon“, the “Lion of the Senate“, the “Champion of Social justice” has died aged 77. It’s somewhat comforting to know that the Liberal ex Senator and the key player in many liberal reforms throughout his illustrious 47 year career in the Senate, lived to see the election of Barack Obama, the man many see as a Kennedy in terms of his political stance, the first hugely liberal President, since Edward’s brother John F Kennedy was elected in 1960.
The Kennedy’s have achieved almost iconic status around the World, due to their strong convictions, their photogenic quality, and unfortunately, the death that has so tragically defined their family name. Joseph Kennedy Jr died during World War II; John Kennedy became President in 1960 but was controversially assassinated in 1963 in Dallas; and Robert Kennedy was assassinated whilst running for President in 1968; leaving Edward as the only surviving Kennedy brother.
In 1960, Edward’s Brother John gave a speech in New York, that would sum up his, Robert’s and Edward’s attitudes and values, that would influence a young Barack Obama, and the World we live in today:
“What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?”…..If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
Such a strong proponent of Universal Healthcare (whilst those undeserving compulsive liars like John McCain… whom I and a few friends watched last night, live on Fox, telling America how shit the British NHS is….despite the fact that the World Health Organisation, puts us way above the USA in terms of quality healthcare…. I think McCain is just prone to blatant lying, whilst a mass of dispicably selfish right wingers clapped his every word, starting questions quite pathetically with “Thank you Mr McCain, you’re one of the most Patriotic men i’ve ever had the pleasure to meet“….pass the vomit bucket please), it is a shame Kennedy couldn’t have been more involved in this debate than he was. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour back in May 2008, and didn’t recover. He will be greatly missed. I truly hope that the liberal thinking behind his many achievements, has been passed on to this new Generation now occupying the White House, and that much can be achieved that would make the Kennedy’s proud. It is a huge shame however, that Kennedy will not live to see any great Healthcare Reform plan, since healthcare reform has been his political calling for decades.
Edward Kennedy was a key player in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 – of which he gave a great speech against the Conservative critics of the Bill. The National Cancer Act of 1971 which was a bit of a dip in the water of Universal healthcare; the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974 which set limits on campaign contributions and forced more public disclosure of where those funds were coming from; the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (which was vetoed by profit-is-more-important-than-people President Ronald Reagan) put economic sanctions on the South African pro-Apartheid government until they agreed to end Apartheid and release Nelson Mandela; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 – a law preventing discrimination on the grounds of disability; the Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990 – designed to help those suffering from AIDS on low incomes get access to better quality drugs and care; the Mental Health Parity Act in 1996 and 2008 which states that limits on mental health benefits cannot be lower than limits for medical benefits offered by a group health plan – another step toward better healthcare that the Free Market cannot solve itself; the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997 – designed to make sure that millions of uninsured and under-insured children were covered for health benefits; and the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 – proposed, I concede by George W Bush just after taking office, designed to test students annually with a state wide standardised test. Schools that receive certain funding must improve year on year or risk tougher sanctions
until they improve.
To sum up, Kennedy was a giant on the political scene, for five decades. Thus ends half a century of the Kennedy Dynasty and it’s influence on American, and in many cases, World affairs. Ted, remains an irreplaceable icon on the side of those seeking Social justice and human compassion.
Edward Kennedy; February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009