Well, “Senator Edward Kennedy dies at age 77” reported Reuters via Yahoo! News this morning. Without a doubt, he was the most influential of the clan after the deaths of John and Robert and up until his own death. He had been suffering from brain cancer, diagnosed just a little over a year ago, May 2008.
Please forgive me for speaking in generalities. I’m posting the same article in both blogs today. Maybe it’s just because I feel a little older myself today, with the realization that even with the best of fortunes and the best of health, old age and death overcome us all at least once. However, as one door shuts, another one opens, and I believe that death is just the closing of a single door. Afterwards, another door opens. Some will have the door to eternal life opened and others will have their first real chance in a physical life in a much better world.
To a certain extent, you had to admire him. He became the leader of one the most well-known and influential families that ever existed. Many did not believe he was up to the task, and some did not even believe he deserved it. However, he was able to overcome many obstacles along the way.
I definitely did not agree with many of Mr Kennedy’s ideas. As the Reuters article wrote:
Yet during his nearly half century in the chamber, Kennedy became known as one of Washington’s most effective senators, crafting legislation by working with lawmakers and presidents of both parties, and finding unlikely allies.
At the same time, he held fast to liberal causes deemed anachronistic by the centrist "New Democrats," and was a lightning rod for conservative ire.
Of course, his personal life was not without its own share of controversy, especially the Chappaquiddick incident. Even more controversial might have been the slap on the wrist treatment for what these days would amount to a felony.
Be that as it may, it remains to be seen what the new generation of Democrats will do from here. There are signs that President Obama has lost his luster, but that was inevitable given the expectations many, not a few but many, had of him. He is still popular and could well remain so. However, the results of some of his policies have a potentially crippling effect, and neither party really seems to have the ability to come up with real long-term solutions.
There were odd statements and many jokes about who was running the Republican party a few months ago. Well, as of today, the Democratic party has one less leader, and it is one less leader in a branch that Mr Obama really needs right now. Who will emerge to be take Mr Kennedy’s place in the Senate? Can anyone really fill his shoes?