Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIP: Edward M. Kennedy [1932-2009]

We will always, I think, talk about his personal struggles with excess in his storied life. We will always, I think, be disappointed as Catholics in his pro-choice positions that he held strongly to. But, it is hard not to acknowledge that in every other way, he was a man deeply rooted in Catholic social teaching and over the course of his half a century career did more for the poor than anyone else in politics. May he rest in peace.

Beyond Camelot: His shining moments endure - The Boston Globe

Ted Kennedy played a leading role in perhaps the greatest political drama of the 20th century - the dawning of the New Frontier and the soul-crushing assassinations that followed - but he will be remembered by history for his legislative achievements in health care, education, civil rights, and immigration.

The fact that his tangible accomplishments transcended his mythic role in the Kennedy drama attests to the vast extent of his legislative impact. In each of four areas, he dominated legislative politics for more than four decades, spanning ten presidencies, and played a large role in transforming the government’s relationship to the people.

Bill by bill, provision by provision, he expanded government health support to millions of children and the elderly, helped millions more go to college, opened the immigration doors to millions of new Americans from continents other than Europe, and protected the civil rights bulwark of the ’60s through a long period of conservative domination.

And by the time his life ended yesterday, surrounded by loved ones in a gentle scene that contrasted sharply with the violent deaths of his brothers, Ted Kennedy had built a nuts-and-bolts legacy to stand beside that of his presidential brother as a figure of hope and his senatorial brother as a figure of compassion.

Beyond Camelot: His shining moments endure - The Boston Globe

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