19 January 2010

I’m sorry, Ted.

I visited your grave yesterday in Arlington, then returned to my home on Capitol Hill and called voters in our home state, encouraging them to elect a successor who would vote for the cause of your life: health care.

I woke up this morning and put on the t-shirt I got during my time working on your last campaign. While I have toiled for many other candidates, you were the first I was serious about.

I have no blame or anger in my heart. There is doubt that we now possess the ability to accomplish the work that faces our government today. We have serious problems, and we need serious people to discuss them. I don’t want an opposition that just says no, like a two year old presented with a plate full of vegetables. I want an opposition that debates ideas, forces us to work hard, and makes valuable contributions to our society.

There is a problem with the way we govern ourselves. We are the only country in the world to allow unlimited debate on legislative issues, hence the filibuster and the need for 60 votes to pass any substantive bill in the Senate. I am not one for allowing the majority party to run roughshod over the minority; there must be time for debate, but no time should be allowed for obstructionism.

The American people spend their time living their lives and working at their jobs, and they elect representatives to spend their lives working at theirs. I reject the “public service” of anyone who operates to solely block progress. One may object to a bill and wish to oppose it for many reasons, but I fail to see how comprehensive reform that will reduce the cost while increasing the coverage and availability of health care to the American populace could be seen as anything but progress.

Joseph Kennedy told his young son: “You can have a serious life or a nonserious life, Teddy. I’ll still love you whichever choice you make.” With this statement in mind, Edward Moore Kennedy decided to serve the people of Massachusetts and chose the serious life, despite the loss of his two brothers who had made the same choice before him. For the next two years, I foresee Ted’s seat being held by a man who stands with those who deal in the politics of counteraction, rather than that of cooperation. But I will say this: progress will be ours, and we will earn it, through the strength of our arguments and our dedication to the founding principle of equality.

I miss you Ted, but I will not abandon that for which you fought.