Senator Edward M. Kennedy died yesterday, as most of you have probably heard already. Like most people, famous or not, rich or poor, there people who didn’t like him or didn’t think much of his accomplishments. However, there are more who see his accomplishments as being worthy of recognition and admiration.
I, for one, have always admired his advocacy of ‘regular people’s’ causes like health care, gay rights and environmental protection. You will see various tributes to the senator online today and let me share this one because health care is something that holds great interest and concern for me. In this video, he talks about his personal experience with the health care system in this country and how important it is that everyone should have the right to to quality health care.
This is the cause of my life. It is a key reason that I defied my illness last summer to speak at the Democratic convention in Denver—to support Barack Obama, but also to make sure, as I said, “that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American…will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.” For four decades I have carried this cause—from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has more meaning for me—and more urgency—than ever before. But it’s always been deeply personal, because the importance of health care has been a recurrent lesson throughout most of my 77 years.
— Ted Kennedy