Senator Edward M. Kennedy dies at age 77

This morning, the sad news that Senator Edward has died from brain cancer.
As many have already said, he was a great politician who was a great supporter of many social justice issues, and did what he could to fight those battles in Congress.
Let’s hope that his biggest legacy will be that of health care reform, and in his memory pass legislation that might actually begin to fix our broken system. From the Young Invincibles campaign, a quote from Senator Kennedy:

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on. The cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.

More about Senator Kennedy’s work on healthcare, visit the Our Bodies, Ourselves blog.
For more reading on Senator Kennedy’s life:
Michael Tomasky at The Guardian
Harold Meyerson and Adam Serwer at The American Prospect
Thoughts from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Robert Scheer at The Nation
John Broder in the NYTimes

Join the Conversation

  • safa

    This is so sad. He is one of the last of the real liberals. Is there anyone else in Congress with the passion for his/her beliefs and the tenacity to stand up to the greedy, uncaring conservative minds. Who will carry the torch?

  • allieb87

    I know at least a few people are going to jump on me for what I’m about to write but I feel that it’s in the spirit of what Ted Kennedy aimed to achieve during his political career…
    We have to stop labeling conservatives as “greedy and uncaring”. It isn’t productive. Kennedy managed to get Republican support for many of his bills which is in part why his career was so successful. Yes, he was tenacious but tenacity doesn’t matter much in Washington if you can’t build at least a few bridges.

  • DeafBrownTrash

    no, I totally agree with you and I think Mr. Kennedy would have agreed, too.
    By labelling Republicans as “greedy and uncaring,” it is not helping anything, but making matters WORSE.
    Americans need to unite and stop fighting. Mr. Kennedy would have wanted both parties to stop calling each other names and get this issue FIXED.

  • Marc

    Ted Kennedy’s legacy will endure and outlast us, even after we’ve grown old and gray, and cannot remember where we were on this day, when America lost one of its greatest heroes.

  • CTD

    I’ll raise a burrito to his memory later today … and then plunge it into my beverage and walk away, checking back on it 12 hours later.

  • BackOfBusEleven

    I, too, am worried about who will carry out his legacy. That is what is so upsetting to me. Nobody talks like he does. As privileged as he was, including the privilege of living to be 77, he did everything in his power to even the gaps. He just wanted everyone to live as fulfilling a life as he did, without looking like the rich White man rescuing us all from our inferior selves. We need 100 Ted Kennedys in the Senate.

  • turninnburnin3

    I agree. We need to come together and fix so many things including health care. Health care is something that effects all Americans not just Democrats, Republicans, Moderates, Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians. It effects us all. May he rest in peace and I thank him for all he has done for America.

  • LalaReina

    He was a part of the fabric of the history of this Country. R.I.P. Devastating lost.

  • Gretel

    About time someone mentioned that! Especially on a feminist blog! Look, lots of people–myself included–loved the man for his politics, but if you do believe that the personal is political, he failed.

  • Toni

    This may sound insensitive but I’m amazed he made it this long. When he was hospitalized for his tumor last year, I expected him to live another 6 weeks tops.

  • Marc

    Exactly how did he fail? It was a fucking accident. We have no reason to believe that, if it were a man in the water, he would have saved him.
    It’s all nice and good that we all want to fight sexism – but you know what, let’s make sure that there’s a case before we start pointing the finger.
    Did he use drugs? Yeah. Did he fuck multiple women? Yeah. But how is any of that anti-feminist? What did Kennedy do that makes him less feminist than you?

  • CTD

    Exactly how did he fail? It was a fucking accident.
    No kidding! I accidentally get drunk, drive off of bridges, then abandon my passengers to drown while I walk home (past a fire station and several houses), call my lawyer, then go to sleep, all the while accidentally forgetting to inform police or emergency services.
    We have no reason to believe that, if it were a man in the water, he would have saved him.
    On this, we can agree. He wouldn’t have saved a guy, either.
    What did Kennedy do that makes him less feminist than you?
    Um, maybe kill a woman?

  • Ellie

    I’m sorry but as influential as this guy had been, I still am really disappointed in him. I mean, especially with that incident with Mary Jo Kopechne, otherwise known as the woman that was with him in the car when he plunged it into the water. Fact is, he fled the scene and didn’t report the accident to authorities. TK ended up only telling authorities about the incident after they had discovered her body. So something had to been going on.
    I also have to not applaud him for his idea/support in regards to the No Child Left Behind. On paper, it was a great idea. In practice, however, it is much the opposite. It only took him after the signing of the law for him (TK) to become disenchanted with it.

  • Marc

    It still doesn’t explain what about the action is not feministic. What was it that was the gender factor in all of this? There was none. The woman so happened to be, well, a woman. That neither means he specfically did not report the incident because of her gender, nor does it mean that he had it out for women.
    Was he guilty for his action? Absolutely. But let’s be careful what we call sexism here, because there are far more worst examples of sexism than what you’ve incorrectly pointed out.
    Just because he was a man and she a woman doesn’t make it sexist. It makes it an unfortunate accident – one that tainted his political career and bid for the White House.

  • A male

    “Exactly how did he fail? It was a fucking accident. We have no reason to believe that, if it were a man in the water, he would have saved him.”
    How is sex relevant? How did he fail?
    I don’t care if Kennedy was under the influence or was screwing around. You have a serious accident, like leaving someone underwater in your car, you report it, particularly if as Kennedy claimed, he attempted to but was unable to help her. You go to a local home for help, if you think she can be immediately saved, you don’t bring your lawyer friends two hours later. You don’t hide out all night to figure out how to put a spin on it before calling the police the next day AFTER the scene and body are found. He told a national audience, “I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately.”

  • Marc

    A moral issue, yes. A feminist issue, no. So, attack Kennedy for acting stupidly and immorally, but this is hardly a feminist issue. Let’s not bastardize feminism and call everything sexist just because two people of two different sexes are involved.

  • LalaReina

    I had a relative who died from brain cancer and I am amazed at how he held it together …to have someone you love meld away in front of you …at the end death was a kindness.

  • Gretel

    It’s interesting you immediately assume that I’m talking about is Chappaquiddick. What I’m actually concerned about is that he lied to investigators after his nephew was charged with rape and then helped slander the woman, portraying her as a slut.

  • Miriam

    Let’s try to keep this thread in check. Yes, there are some bad things on Kennedy’s record, which you all bring up–they’ve been talked about and hashed out before.
    I’m not sure the day of his death is the appropriate time to go into all of it again. At least be civil in your discussion of it.

  • Disarm33

    I am surprised too, honestly. I hope I’m not sounding insensitive either. My grandmother had the same type of cancer, only it was in her right parietal lobe. She passed away just after Kennedy was diagnosed, only a few months after we found out about her tumor. I hope he went in peace, I would not want him or his friends and family going through what this devastating disease can do. Yes, Ted Kennedy did some stupid things, but I think his overall legacy will outweigh that.

  • Disarm33

    Argh! This was supposed to be in response to Toni’s comment.

  • Gretel

    I’m sorry if my tone came across as uncivil. As someone who lost her father at a young age, I wish his family all the best.

  • Miriam

    I didn’t mean to reply just to you, but to the comments above in general. But I appreciate it.

  • Lilitu

    I assumed you were talking about Chappaquiddick, too. It might have something to do with the fact that you replied to the apparently obligatory tasteless Chappaquiddick joke with, “About time someone mentioned that.” You didn’t mention anything else.

  • ellid

    Not to mention that Kennedy apologized, and apologized, and apologized for Chappaquidick. Bringing it up today, especially in the form of a really tasteless joke that dehumanizes Mary Jo Kopechne, is gauche.

  • Jeba

    i’m glad that someone brought this up, especially on the day of his death. he did great things for this country, but horrible crimes shouldn’t just disappear while every lauds him as a hero. he left a girl to die – an understandable act for a politician, but still incredibly morally reprehensible. i choose to remember that incident today along with all of his accomplishments.

  • CTD

    So, talk of Camelot all we want, but please no mention of he Lady in the Lake?
    Got it.

  • Erika

    Sweet, you can drown people now and expect it to be an off-limits topic as long as you apologize? We mere mortals normally face consequences and shit. Weird.