It is a very poignant time if one respects the contributions and public career of Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
Acknowledged as the “Lion of the Senate”,Â one of its most exceptional members in the long history of that body, Â well respected even by his Republican colleagues,Â Ted Kennedy has been battling a brain tumor, first made public in May 2008.
He managed to endorse and promote the election of Barack Obama as President,Â and has been championing major reform in the area of health care, which unfortunately is now bogged down by rumors, lies,Â distortions, misconceptions, and pure demagoguery by talk show hosts,Â corporate interests, and the Republican party.Â Â It was hoped that we would be able to accomplish major reform as the culmination of his 47 years service in the Senate, the third longest ever.
Ted Kennedy has had his warts and shortcomings,Â as for instance in the Chappaquiddick Affair forty years ago,Â but he has done his best to redeem himselfÂ by serving as the voice of the poor, the sick, the elderly, the disadvantaged, and the powerless.Â There are very few senators who can match his public record in the Senate, and everyone knows he is a passionate advocate of the causes he cares about.
But recent days show evidence that he may be nearing the end of his battle with cancer.Â He only has shown up a couple of times in public this year,Â and three developmentsÂ in the past week are looming signs of a terrible piece of news that I hope will not occur as soon as it seems likely at this point.
First,Â he is the only Senator who did not show up to vote on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court,Â a nomination he much applauded.Â Second, he was not present when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this week, with his daughter accepting the award and his sons also present for the honor.Â Finally, today, he was unable to appear at the funeral mass of his beloved sister and founder of the Special Olympics,Â Eunice Kennedy Shriver.Â Â It is obvious that he would have been present, were he in good enough health condition to be at these momentous events.
So this is a time to be sad and recognize the reality that he may beÂ leaving us sooner rather than later.Â Â I pray this is not so, but I think realistically,Â this is the likely scenario very soon.
This is a moment to reflect and pray as hard as we can for a miracle, which will allow Ted Kennedy to return to the Senate and lead the charge for health care reform and other major reforms that have had to be delayed,Â until we could have a progressive President in the White House.Â May God look kindly on him and bless him with relief from pain and suffering, and give him a remission, so he can continue his great service to the nation!