Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Health & Wealth

Let's pass a health care bill out of the Senate in the name of Teddy Kennedy!
by Charlie Leck

It was in 1980 that Ted Kennedy said: "Let us resolve that the state of a family's health will never depend on the size of their wealth!" It was at the Democratic National Convention that he spoke those words and he burned them on the hearts and minds of so many of us who listened to him.
"Finally, we cannot have a fair prosperity in isolation from a fair society. So I will continue to stand for a national health insurance. We must -- We must not surrender -- We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospitals can charge, and let us resolve that the state of a family's health shall never depend on the size of a family's wealth."
The Senate must act now to reinstall a strong public option in a health care bill and pass it in the name and memory of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

I remember a night in, perhaps, 1969 or 1970, in a crowded ballroom in a St. Paul hotel, when Kennedy strode rapidily and elegantly through the doors and roared up to the podium. He was a man who'd lost two brothers to assassin's attacks; yet he was brave and unflinching. It was on that exciting night that I was able to put a real-life definition to the word 'charisma.' I'd never seen or felt anything like it. He was electric and he sent a charge through each single person in the massive crowd. I felt it clearly. I believed in him, in spite of his problems and his weaknesses, and I thought our nation would be so well-off under his leadership.

Leaving the podium, he passed down the center aisle and I reached toward him with an open hand. He shook firmly with me, as if we were making a bond or a pact, and his eyes made solid contact with mine. I saw such courage residing there and a belief in himself that I've never seen, up close, in another person.

Aah, but the years pass in such a steady, unrelenting manner. The more we try to hold on to them and slow them down, the more rapidly they fade into another year. And now, Ted Kennedy goes to the stars where he shall rest with his brothers.
"Attired with stars, we shall forever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time"
(John Milton)

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