Tuesday, 15 February 2011

My Five Greatest Men and Women - Part Four

"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."


To some, a very recognisable group of words. To other's, perhaps not.

Nonetheless, I feel whether one knows who spoke them or not, the potency and meaning of this quotation is just as profound.

Those who know me acknowledge that I'm a sucker for a great quote or a good orator. Well, the fourth member on my list was these two things and many more.


 

Senator Edward Kennedy - a man I was unaware of until shortly before his death in 2009. Of course, The Kennedy name is a recognisable one. Everyone has been taught the great stature and promise of Ted's Brother Jack. President Kennedy's life and premature death is arguably a motif for the deterioration of peace and rise of power politics in the post-war/cold war era.

However, although Jack was the only Kennedy to be President, he was not the only son of the Massachusetts diplomat Joe Kennedy to seek Presidential office. Robert, (or Bobby) Kennedy ran for the Democratic party's nomination in 1968, as did Ted in 1980.


Bobby was killed short of gaining the party's nomination and Ted was unsuccessful. However, their legacy did not die along with their almighty political aspirations. One could argue that Bobby's dream of peace still remains in the hearts of Americans and citizens of Earth today. After all, the words spoken by Bobby on his report of Dr. King's death in 1968 are testament to the eloquence and power that he had with words.



"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black."

 


 It has often been said that the greatest institution of British Culture is our National Health Service. This is a statement I'd agree with. Regardless of party affiliations, I feel the majority of British people appreciate the beneficial attributes to free health care in the United Kingdom.

 



Unfortunately, American health care is not as easily available to people in the United States. I find it personally quite hard to comprehend a system where people are not given health care because of their personal finances.

Surely the role of state is to protect and care for one's citizens?


 

Senator Edward Kennedy, although a man from a very affluent background still believed that health care in the United States needed dramatic reform.



Recently in the United Kingdom we've seen protests by Students who have vigorously campaigned for free Higher Education and quite rightly so. I believe that like Health Care, education should be a right and not a privilege.


"A Right and Not a Privilege." Perhaps the phrase most associated with Senator Edward M. Kennedy and his career long campaign for free Health Care. Senator Kennedy devoted his Congressional premiership to this pledge.

 

Although Kennedy was not successful in providing a totally nationalised system of free Health Care for all Americans, his efforts were not futile. He worked relentlessly from the early days of his Senatorial career up until and even during the beginning of the incumbent Obama Administration. Senator Kennedy's stubborn and determined agenda for making America a fairer and more harmonious society represent the power a single man can have. Perhaps the words "Faith can move mountains." are relevant to Edward Kennedy's cause and unwavering fortitude in his beliefs.






Ted was well known for his enthusiasm for working with his Republican Senatorial colleagues. The will of one man to put aside political differences and work in unity with those who would oppose him highlights the bond of common faith that he praised in mankind.  He once said to his son, Edward Kennedy Jr. "Republicans love this country just as much as I do".After all, he dreamed in an America and a world where brothers and countrymen come together in the effort of peace and progress.


Many would argue that mankind is inherently flawed. There is certainly evidence to suggest that an inclination to violence and a tendency to cause pain is evident in human society. However, does harmony and understanding overcome discrimination and suffering?

I believe Ted Kennedy thought so. He acknowledged that man had in his mortal hands, the power to oppress and prejudge his own friends and companions.


 However, he dreamed that mans greatest attribute was potential. Potential to change ourselves and not to judge others but to do all in our power to provide a better life for all of mankind.


Peace is a precarious thing. It not only balances on the will of men and women who lead, but on the actions and intentions of all members of society. After all, perhaps the greatest ill of all is idleness as every man and woman has the power to change and install a more peaceful society.


In the eulogy of his brother Robert, Senator Edward Kennedy proclaimed the words..
"My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: 'Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."

 

Well done Ted. 








 For a truly great eulogy watch this clip - Ted Kennedy Jr. - Eulogy

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