With Ted Kennedy's passing, we have lost a towering symbol for America's main ideological divide - liberalism and conservatism - the personification of what may be praised or vilified, according to perspective.
Edward Moore Kennedy, United States senator and Massachusetts citizen, died yesterday.
With his passing, we have lost a towering symbol for America's main ideological divide - liberalism and conservatism - the personification of what may be praised or vilified, according to perspective.
While Sen. Kennedy and his politics remain forever inextricable, he was also richly, fully and extremely human - capable of both great and admirable accomplishments, as well as actions undeserving of respect on any level.
In many ways, he was the iconic American of which legends are made.
He was a child of privilege who later in life put aside his personal ambitions for a greater, universal good.
He strove to craft our highest ideals into tangible exemplars of liberty and justice for all men, while sometimes failing to attain the most basic standards of behavior and character.
In true American fashion, he overcame his personal flaws to serve a greater purpose and a public good.
Kennedy died Tuesday as Congress and the president continued working toward a national health care system that was his life's dream.
There have been many critics of this plan, but no one doubted the need for some type of reform. Kennedy understood that in the richest, most resourceful nation on Earth, it was unpardonable that millions of people, especially the very young and very old, had inadequate medical care.
Kennedy the senator believed that government was capable of creating a more just and fair society, whether through better-funded public education, more accessible health care, income support for the economically stressed or expansion of rights for members of society that had been disenfranchised.
Kennedy the person was a fiercely loving family patriarch, a man of steady faith, a stalwart friend to many and a comfortable, kind and considerate neighbor to his beloved community of Hyannis Port, Mass.
President Barack Obama noted that many of those who today mourn Ted Kennedy had "the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye" to him.
"His extraordinary life on this Earth has come to an end. The extraordinary good that he did lives on," said the president.
But perhaps it is Edward Kennedy's own words in the eulogy of his brother Robert that may resound as his epitaph as well.
He "saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it."
Rest in peace.
The Patriot Ledger