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Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Heart and Soul of Our Nation Has Lost

I remember the day just a few years in the past when we were at the Friday morning coffee klatsch with my family in Boise, Idaho. They gather each Friday morning for donuts and coffee. It is no secret that I have strong conservative roots in spite of where I am today. Many members of my family, on the other hand, still cling to hatred and horribly narrow followings. Our conversations are spicy to say the very least. On this particular morning, I remember my uncle waving his big arms up over his head and through the air saying that he "wished that Ted Kennedy would do us all a favor and commit suicide." I lit on fire...instantly. I said something about not being so sure about that.....that our nation needed someone to pound their fists and scream and holler when things are going wrong.....and that there were a hell of a lot of things going wrong that needed to be yelled about. As only I can do, I couldn't leave it there.....I continued pointing out to my uncle that he attends church and how in the world could he reconcile these feelings of hatred and vile words when he called himself a Christian. Oh boy, that went over well. And so, today, I'm reminded of that terrible Friday morning.......

If you've been reading the Spirit of Saint Lewis from the very beginning, you may remember this poignant post from October 2006. Today, Senator Ted Kennedy is being laid to rest. I was crying on the treadmill at the gym an hour ago while his motorcade and coffin passed across the Potomac River into Washington. He announced his candidacy for the Senate three weeks after I was born....and became a Senator that very fall. For, literally, my entire life, he has been in the Senate....and that is a very long time. I mean, the man has been around long enough to have remembered when people of a particular color didn't have all of the rights they do today, when wheelchair ramps were not required in public places, when gays were nothings (yes, kids, we've come a long way no matter how far we still have to go), when women were secretaries.....not vice presidents, and when you could discriminate in housing based on a long list of hatreds. The heart and soul of our nation has lost today. Honestly, there are few as tough, strong and mouthy. Don't miss the article from the New York Times.....

11 comments:

bridgeout said...

Well my friend, I have been thinking of so many of these things today while watching Sen Kennedy's coverage. I was not able to be quite as eloquent today, but while telling the kids who this man was to our country I thought of 3 impt. things his life taught me.

Steven said...

I remember growing up when Ted didn't have the best character and was just known as a drunk. So much has been learned about him these last few days.

Will said...

We watched the funeral at my daughter's in Los Angeles and were deeply moved--I knew very little about Victoria Kennedy before, but thought she was just marvelous yesterday. It was a great send-off for a very great man.

Lemuel said...

For me some of the most significant things about Ted Kennedy was his commitment to those who had no voice, his integrity to stand up for what he felt was true, and his willingness to accept responsibility for his weakness and mistakes. Those are rare things in Washington these days.

Edmund said...

wonderfully written...he will be truly missed.
Edmund

daveincleveland said...

we have lost one of the good guys...he will be missed

Ur-spo said...

I was in Canada when all this happened.

He was liked there. I have learned the Right of this country often makes us the laughingstock of other nations.

Michael Rivers said...

A very big loss. He did so much for our country, with such dignity and respect. He will be missed for sure.

WAT said...

We were just talking about IDAHO for some reason the other day at work I believe, and I actually thought of you and how you mention the backward views people have up there. It's insane, very infuriating, but almost funny too.

Mark in DE said...

I admire that you still try to talk some sense into your conservative family.

Flower gyrl said...

Well said. We lost a brave person and an advocate in the best sense of that word.