Edward Kennedy is dead. He passed away this morning at the age of 77. That leaves a very large empty chair from my youth. I can remember discussing Ted way back when as the most promising of the Kennedy brothers. We thought then he would definitely one day occupy the Oval Office. And then there came Chappaquiddick.
If there is a single quote which sums up Ted’s struggles it is from the days of the Reagan nomination of Robert Bork for the Supreme Court. "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, children could not be taught about evolution."
This is the same vision of America embraced by the controlling right wing Evangelical Christian base of today’s Republican Party and it’s more of a nightmare than a vision.
It’s a nightmare that would turn back the social progress of the last 100 years. It’s a nightmare that requires constant vigilance and the unwavering resolve to fight at every opportunity if we are to prevent it from becoming reality. It’s the nightmare that black Americans don’t realize they’re supporting when they add their votes to those of the bigots to deny the right of Gays to marry. If someone else’s rights can be voted away, your rights can be voted away as well. The days of the bullet, the blood and the rope aren’t that long ago and many of the same people vilifying Gays would cheerfully bring them back.
The bad news is we’ve lost a leader in the fight. The good news is there are plenty of us left to carry on. Rest in peace Ted; thank you for the leadership and the inspiration and don’t worry, we are not going to lose this war. Victory is certain, the only questions are how long will it take and what will be the cost.