Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Liberal

He carried his personal flaws and tragic miscues in the same way he carried the liberal credo: slightly wearied, but unyielding.

His opponents linked them seamlessly.

If the health care debate reveals anything, it is that to believe in a government conceived with the purpose of serving the people places one in the company of someone who drives a young girl off a bridge, runs, and then hides.

Together, Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy and the large liberal constituency that thrives throughout this country, have trudged on, standing by tired platitudes that are no less virtuous for being time-worn and tested.

His loss is a terrible blow to Republican fundraisers, but not so much as it will be to an ungrateful and impatient people who take whatever they can get, while viewing the acts of sharing with or giving to the less-fortunate as foolhardy.

For those of us inspired and instructed by his political example, his like will not be seen for a long time, if ever.

Kennedy never saw a military intervention he liked. He taught, by his example, that such consistency is the stuff of being anti-war and pro-human, never falling for the slick trick of associating support for a missile system with a desire for peace.

Those of us who agreed with him were never disappointed - no matter how low the value of our philosophy sunk - when we awaited his lone and familiar voice to speak out with intelligence against organized and taxpayer-funded mayhem.

We were never disappointed when the corporations that run our lives, pirate our money and health, had come up with yet another new line of propaganda that succeeded by appealing to what was worst, rather than best, in the American spirit.

He was there, like a default setting; turning our helpless rage into articulate argument that we might carry forth onto the streets, into parties, and anywhere else informed public debate still percolates.

For those of us who retired at night, beaten by our own mistakes -- thrown into doubt -- Kennedy demonstrated how one picks-up and carries on.

The marvelous and masterful senator taught us that our questionable pasts and sorry records could be righted by doing one small thing tomorrow and another the day after and so on.

He taught us that our job is to get better at what we do and to not be undone by setbacks.

He did not define what it meant to be liberal because all of that came before his rise to power and fame. But Kennedy taught us what it cost to remain liberal, to endure the insults and continue the work of assisting those who need it.

Unlike his brothers, frozen in youth by martyrdom, his story encompassed the sloppy narrative that becomes all our narratives, which in the end, is the same effort at doing good while swimming against a current of so much evil.

Good bye you good Liberal.

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