The Passing of Senator Ted Kennedy and the Legacy He Left Behind

Ted Kennedy

Senator Ted Kennedy, the Liberal Lion who dedicated his career to equality and health care, passed away the morning of August 26.

Senator Ted Kennedy served his country, but unlike a great deal of politicians in office today, he served each and every single person of his country without bias. His list of accomplishments is long and varied. He fought to reverse the injustices that his fellow human beings encountered daily. He was a strong supporter of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and later authored amendments strengthening enforcement of key provisions of the Act. He played a central role in fighting discrimination in both the Age Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He was also the original Senate lead on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 1994, in 1996 he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and in 1997 he was the original sponsor of hate crimes legislation. He also fought to end the funding of the very much failed abstinence-only education programs, voted for the increase of funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and he was also an outspoken supporter for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, that prohibits gay and lesbian Americans from serving openly in the military.

But what Senator Ted Kennedy is most known for and what he devoted his career to is ensuring that each and every American citizen has the right to universal, affordable health care. He had first introduced a bill to ensure universal health care for all in 1970 and he worked tirelessly to make this a reality for the past four decades. This past summer he had also wrote an essay on the need for universal, affordable health care services, appropriately titled ‘The Cause of My Life.’ He wrote in that essay:

It is a key reason that I defied my illness last summer to speak at the Democratic convention in Denver — to support Barack Obama, but also to make sure, as I said, “that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American…will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.” For four decades I have carried this cause — from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has more meaning for me — and more urgency — than ever before. But it’s always been deeply personal, because the importance of health care has been a recurrent lesson throughout most of my 77 years.

Senator Kennedy indeed accomplished quite a lot in his life and while his person, tenacity, and ambitiousness will be missed, I hope that his life’s work will inspire others in our Senate and in our government as a whole to ensure that each and every single American has the right to receive health care that they not just need, but deserve.

One thought on “The Passing of Senator Ted Kennedy and the Legacy He Left Behind”

  1. Affordable healthcare – really? American healthcare is everything else, but affordable. How can you leave a person to die, because he doesn’t have health insurance. American politics are playing with people’s biggest fear – illness and death and that’s not right. I can’t say anything about senator Kennedy, he probably was a great person and really devoted his life to achieving affordable healthcare system, but unfortunately one person is so not enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.