Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Lion Sleeps

Like many Americans, I woke up to the big news of the day that Sen. Ted Kennedy or "Uncle Teddy" as he's lovingly called passed during the night. If you've noticed, I've taken an intentional break from blogging while I figure out the next direction to take my online habits. But I would be remiss if I didn't put in an entry for a political figure that I ACTUALLY admire greatly.

Yes, even me who thinks politics is a dirty game and I've used a significant amount of time to blog about the shenanigans. But I'm also a big believer in still being part of the process; the main reason I vote. And I'd like to thank Uncle Teddy for given me that right to do so with the Voters Right Act and changing the voter's age to 18. Yes, all you kids (I can't believe I'm saying that) who "Barack-ed" the vote last year and the minute amount of you who couldn't wait to cast your vote for the opposing party, you got that right from Uncle Teddy.

If you are a woman in college able to play sports and equally use working facilities to train, you got Uncle Teddy to thank for passing Title IX. If you are an immigrant or the child of an immigrant (like I am), you have Uncle Teddy to thank for the Immigration Act because of his fundamental belief that we are a "nation of immigrants," a nod to his Irish roots.

Time will not permit me to talk about Disability Act, Medicare, law against Hate against sexual orientation, Medicaid, Martin Luther King Holiday, OMG Civil Rights Act. You name it, in almost 50 years, Uncle Teddy has had a hand in it. He showed with his failed bid for Presidency, that you didn't have to rise to highest office of the land to live a life of significance.

And as a part-time Bostonian, I mourn and reflect on this Lion's legacy today. One of my Uncles said in jest some years ago about Uncle Teddy that he didn't have to ever campaign for re-election in Massachusetts, he just won on default and no one dares run against him. We laughed at it because it was so true.

Just in case you're wondering about the title and if I'm in denial - no I'm NOT. I'm a person of faith and I don't see death as others do. I see it as a passage and in the biblical sense, I used the word "sleeps" intentionally. So as I said at a friend's memorial five years ago, "I'm not saying goodbye, I say see you later."

In the meantime, I hope we could glean something from Uncle Teddy's life - a complex one to say the least. I'm not denying the fact that he definitely wasn't perfect but he showed us no matter how "muddled" our lives could be even from our own faults, we can grow up, our better selves are still ahead of us and fighting for a "just America" as he used to say, is a worthy cause.

Tag: Edward M. Kennedy