Senator Edward Kennedy Hon. ’84

Last night the nation lost one of its great public servants. It is difficult to think of another elected official since WWII who supported programs to help the most vulnerable members of our society with the energy, consistency and intelligence of Senator Edward Kennedy. His vision of justice was tied to a commitment to mitigate the cruel effects of inequality and entrenched power without unduly compromising economic growth and individual freedom. His support of education as a vehicle for the creation of opportunity has inspired countless students and teachers.

Senator Kennedy’s family had strong Wesleyan ties. The senator received an honorary degree in 1984, and his son Ted is a graduate. His step-daughter, Caroline Raclin, graduated in 2008, and we had looked forward to a Commencement Address that year from the Lion of the Senate. This was around the time when his illness first became evident, but despite the personal challenges confronting the family, they made sure to find a suitable speaker. Barack Obama’s moving tribute to his senate colleague, and his call for public service, will be long remembered by those who attended.

In this season of lies and distortions aimed to preserve profits and privilege, we have already missed him. In this season of posturing and bloviating without apparent thought of legislating, we have already missed him. We have already missed his uncanny ability to combine forceful advocacy with thoughtful, pragmatic compromise.

May the memory of his passionate and reasoned voice for health care as a right and not a privilege be the basis for extending and improving our health care system. This would be the greatest tribute to a remarkable man.

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1 thought on “Senator Edward Kennedy Hon. ’84

  1. I will not speak to Ted Kennedy for we have different opinions of his personal life and political career. May he rest in peace.

    My concern is with your dialogue and I quote “In this season of lies and distortions aimed to preserve profits and privilege, we have already missed him”.

    I have heard this language of late from a number of politicians….It speaks as if profits and privilege are a bad thing?Is it not the right of the individual who takes the risks to build and create to enjoy the fruits of his labor? Without risk how can their be reward? If their is reward without risk what is the reason to get out of bed every morning?

    Your words harken back to Dr. Zhivago….

    You state “health care is a right and not a priviledge” How would you feel if a Doctor stated that a Wesleyan University Education is a right and not a priviledge.
    Don’t you think it would be fair for you to do the same thing you are asking the Doctors of our country to do?

    If health care was really the issue and compassion for the individual the utmost concern then the solution to health care would be simple. No one is allowed to have health insurance. No government plan, no private plan, no insurance companies. This would then force hospitals and doctors to charge what the patient could afford to pay. The free market would dicate that better doctors could charge more for their service and doctors who were not as good would be forced to charge less.

    This plan would work because now Universities would adhere to the same program. No more scholarships, no more finanical aid, no more quota’s. This would force Universities to charge what the student could afford to pay. The finer institutions would charge more for their services and instititions that were not as good would be forced to charge less.

    Better yet….Doctors wouldn’t have to pay for their education at all as they could attend Universities for free.

    Education at fine institutions would be a right not a priviledge.
    Here is a novel idea……
    Priviledges are earned.

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