R.I.P. Ted Kennedy

Ray Abernathy

An old Edward M. Kennedy placard lies outside the John F. Kennedy Museum on August 26,in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Kennedy died of brain cancer at home late last night at the age of 77.

I met Ted Kennedy personally only a couple of times and he wouldn’t have known me from Adam. But I knew him well because he was everything I ever wanted to be, heroic despite his flaws, unfailingly true to the liberal values we shared, a man who always got bigger as those around him grew smaller.

He was the most powerful liberal voice in the Senate, and a fierce battler for truth, justice and mercy, a giant. Yet he never got down in the gutter, never questioned the motives of his colleagues on the right, never hectored the sophomores surrounding him.

As far as I know, he was bereft of arrogance and pettiness, loving to his family, kind to his staff, all rare traits for a United States Senator. He suffered more personal losses than any public servant in our history, but he handled each with dignity, grace and forgiveness.

He was a rich man who cared most for those who weren’t so lucky, which, fortunately, included most all of us. Surely, there is no purgatory for Ted Kennedy.

This post originally appeared at From the Left Bank of the Potomac.

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Ray Abernathy has been a political, labor and public relations consultant for more than 40 years, working exclusively for labor unions and nonprofits. His blog, From the Left Bank of the Potomac, is at www​.rayaber​nathy​.com. He is co-author of The Inside Game: Winning With Worksite Strategies and author of A Practical Press Guide for Local Labor Unions.
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