Time To Honor Robert LaFollette, Sr. And Ted Kennedy Together!

The passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, the great spokesman for modern American liberalism, brings to mind the exceptional career of the late Senator Robert LaFollette, Sr, “Mr. Progressive”, of the early 20th century Progressive Era.

Coming to the Senate about two thirds of a century apart, Kennedy and LaFollette both came to personify the fight for social justice, regulation of corporations, and political reform. One was a Democrat from Massachusetts, while the other was a Republican from Wisconsin, but despite their large separation by time, they both personified the best in the American tradition of caring about others and standing for change to promote an equitable society.

Earlier this year, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, himself a model of modern progressivism and liberalism, sponsored a bill which was also supported in its introduction by Senators Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and–get this–Senator Ted Kennedy himself—to honor LaFollette with the minting of a silver commemorative coin regarding his life and legacy–in the year 2011. Along with the US Mint coin, a separate proposal called for the Congressional Gold Medal to be awarded to LaFollette posthumously by the President of the United States.

This is a brilliant idea and needs to move forward, but I propose both bills be modified, so that the US Mint coin and the Congressional Gold Medal be awarded not just to Senator LaFollette, but also to Senator Ted Kennedy, who LaFollette, were he alive today, would be very appreciative of the continuation of his vision by the liberal Democrat from Massachusetts.

This proposal to honor both LaFollette and Kennedy is a non partisan bill, with its purpose to appreciate the progressive and liberal tradition and promote its continuation, with very possibly Senator Russ Feingold as its new champion and leader. We need such leadership in Congress, but supported in full by President Barack Obama.

The death of Senator Ted Kennedy is time to gather the forces of change and make this sad event a moment to recharge for the many battles and struggles ahead. Onward to greater accomplishments! 🙂

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