Thursday, August 27, 2009

Doug Drenkow: Remembering Ted Kennedy

by Guest Author, Doug Drenkow

Love him or loathe him, Sen. Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy was an undeniably great public figure. But his greatness did not spring from who he was -- the surviving one of four, larger-than-life brothers of a powerful American family -- but from what he did -- champion the rights of all Americans, including those not born to such wealth and privilege.

Ted Kennedy was not African American, Hispanic American, Native American, or Asian American. But he championed the Voting Rights and Fair Housing laws, immigration laws, and other legislation advancing civil rights, what he called "the still unfinished business of America."

Ted Kennedy was never a person of color in South Africa. But he championed the fight against Apartheid.

Ted Kennedy was not gay or lesbian. But he championed legislation protecting the rights of homosexual Americans and funding AIDS research.

Ted Kennedy was not a girl or a woman. But he championed women's reproductive rights, health and nutrition programs for pregnant women and infants, and Title IX.

Ted Kennedy was not born into nor did he die in poverty. But he championed the minimum wage, Meals on Wheels, and countless other programs helping those far less advantaged than he.

Ted Kennedy was never a working class laborer or even a middle class wage earner. But he championed the Family Leave Act, OSHA, and the rights of labor unions.

Ted Kennedy was never denied a good education. But he championed No Child Left Behind (which President Bush failed to fund as promised) and higher education for all.

Ted Kennedy was never a serviceman in harm's way. But he came to champion the fight against the Vietnam Conflict, which he called "a monstrous outrage"; he pushed to abolish the draft and give 18-year-olds the right to vote; and he voted against the 2002 authorization for Bush to take us to war in Iraq, which he called "the best vote I've made in my 44 years in the United States Senate."

Ted Kennedy was never a victim of gun violence, like his brothers John and Bobby. But he championed gun control legislation.

Ted Kennedy was never mentally disabled, like his sister Rosemary, or until the end afflicted with cancer, like his son Edward Jr., who lost a leg. But he championed the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And as we saw towards the end, Ted Kennedy was never denied any medical care he needed. But for four decades, he championed community health care centers, cancer research, health insurance portability, the Mental Health Parity Act, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other legislation that might lead to universal health care for all Americans, which he called "the cause of my life."

Let health care reform and all the other "progressive" -- intelligent, compassionate, and just -- causes that Sen. Kennedy devoted his legislative life to be our causes as well. What Sen. Kennedy said in his famous 1980 concession speech about the conclusion of his presidential aspirations can be said now, about the close of his life: "For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. 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."

--Doug Drenkow

Addendum: The death of Ted Kennedy seems doubly tragic in itself and for the losses it reminds, needless, tragic losses made so by the evidence that has 'trickled down' through the years that the jihad waged against the Kennedy family on behalf of the increasingly rabid and irrational right wing was perpetrated by the CIA for a panoply of stupid, ruthless and often irrational motives. Most recently the BBC reported the CIAs involvement in the murder of Robert Kennedy.
The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and some of the officers were based in South-East Asia at the time, with no reason to be in Los Angeles.

Kennedy had just won the California Democratic primary on an anti-War ticket and was set to challenge Nixon for the White House when he was shot in a kitchen pantry.

A 24-year-old Palestinian, Sirhan Sirhan, was arrested as the lone assassin and notebooks at his house seemed to incriminate him.

However, even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember the shooting and defence psychiatrists concluded he was in a trance at the time.

Witnesses placed Sirhan's gun several feet in front of Kennedy but the autopsy showed the fatal shot came from one inch behind.

--CIA role in Kennedy killing
It is not surprising that the CIA would be implicated in the murder of RFK. It is tragic that the same scrutiny was not forthcoming sooner --when it might have done some good. It is tragic that the murder of JFK was not likewise scrutinized. It is tragic that the investigation of RFK's murder was left in the hands of an incompetent Los Angeles Police Department about which there is no adjective to describe the utter incompetence given this case. Earlier there was no adjective to describe the criminal neglect given the murder of JFK in Dallas!

The world's number one terrorist organization, the CIA has committed heinous acts of terrorism abroad, murdering critics of US foreign and domestic policies and has done it on behalf of an increasingly tiny, privileged American elite. This tiny elite of some one percent owns more than the combined wealth of 95% of the entire population. [See: the L-Curve] On behalf of this tiny, privileged base, the CIA has placed itself above law and supervision. The CIA's war on the world has claimed an estimated 12 million to 20 million victims, far more than the best estimates attributed to Adolph Hitler's 'Holocaust' of World War II. --The Existentialist Cowboy

Evidence That the CIA Murdered Bobby Kennedy

Tributes to Ted Kennedy

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