August 27th, 2009

I did not know Ted Kennedy either as a person or politician so it is difficult for me to understand why I feel such a personal reaction to the news of his death.

No matter how hopeless I felt about the political situation in our country and how inadequate I felt about my ideas it gave me some confidence knowing that Ted was in the Senate and then at least some of my concerns would be expressed even if they were not acted upon.


I only saw Ted Kennedy speak once it was in Boston when he was being challenged by Mitt Romney. He was down in the polls and many of the pundits that are recounted him out suggesting his ideas (and his behavior) were too old-school and the voters even Massachusetts voters had passed his liberal ideas by. I was there meeting with one of my clients one of the nation’s largest insurance companies and one of Boston’s leading employers. I knew that Ted Kennedy was going to be speaking in the assembly hall of that insurance company at the same time we were meeting with our users and executives of the company. Because it was a liberal working in a very conservative (insurance) industry I followed the advice of those I considered wiser than myself and mainly kept my political views private. Sen. Kennedy was scheduled to speak at lunchtime and as our meeting progressed I kept one eye on the clock wishing that there were some way for me to excuse myself and sneak into the back of the hall where she was speaking. Shortly before noon the vice president of the company who is the host of the meeting made eye contact with me and ask, “would you like to go and see Sen. Kennedy speak during lunch?” Hoping that it was not a trick question I indicated that I would. He said, “when you see me get up to leave the meeting follow me and I will take you to the hall where he is speaking.” As we walked down to the gathering he said that he was a Kennedy supporter and when I asked about the polls he said that I should ignore them because Ted was going to be okay. I began the day feeling I would be lucky if I was able to sneak into the back of the hall to hear Kennedy speak I’m not sure if it was because he was a vice president or because he was a supporter of Kennedy but we ended up sitting in the front row just a few feet from the Senator. I don’t remember much of what Ted said that day but I was impressed with how healthy he looked. Word was he had cut back on drinking lost some weight and was taking better care of his health and it showed. Turned out my host that day it was right Kennedy won the election with 58 percent of the vote to Romney’s 41 percent, the second smallest margin in Kennedy’s nine elections to the Senate.

There has always been Ted Kennedy serving in the Senate keeping liberal ideas alive even if there was a diminishing chance of them ever becoming law. While others and the nation decided liberal was a four letter word Ted never abandoned the label by becoming a progressive or centrist.



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August 25th, 2009

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