today senator ted kennedy died, after a long battle with brain cancer. his star-crossed family gave us a fallen WWII hero, a charismatic president and an equally charismatic senator who would have become president. both men were assassinated (1963 and 1968 respectively). despite their inherited wealth, or perhaps because of it, the kennedy brothers were firmly committed to issues of social justice. ted was no exception -- he has worked for decades to try to pass health care reform. it is a sad irony that he died just as his dream stands on the threshold of fruition. but he leaves a solid legacy of human rights legislation -- voting rights, womens rights, the fight against racism and apartheid, the list goes on and on. and in the process, as a proudly partisan liberal, kennedy was able to reach across the aisle and work with his conservative colleagues with respect and congeniality.
at least two kennedy offspring, JFK's daughter and RFK's son, carry on their own political activism, at a lower profile but nonetheless vigorously engaged.
a footnote -- i will be on vacation with my family until 5 september, so my entries may be sporadic. please hang in there, i will return.