Democrats paid tribute to Ted Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention yesterday in a moving video that reminded us what a champion Senator Kennedy was for the American poor and middle class. At the same time it highlighted the very different path that Ted Kennedy took from a life of privilege, having been born into one of the wealthiest families in America, compared to the one Mitt Romney chose.
- Kennedy sought educational opportunities for everyone; Mitt Romney says students should get “…as much education as they can afford”.
- Ted Kennedy was a staunch supporter of, and fighter for civil rights; Romney issued an under the radar executive order as Governor of Massachusetts, on a holiday weekend, that “scuttled the Massachusetts government’s long-standing affirmative action policies”. (Public outcry brought the programs back.)
- Ted Kennedy believed in the right to legal status for children born in the U.S. of illegal immigrants; Mitt Romney thinks they should have to join the military for it. (Neither Romney nor any of his sons have served in the military.)
- Ted Kennedy fought for minimum wage increases; Mitt Romney was for tying the minimum wage to inflation for about 5 seconds before his party slapped him back into line – he now sees no need to increase it.
- Kennedy considered healthcare “the cause of his life”; Mitt Romney wishes he’d never uttered the word health care in his life.
There are two very different paths available to those of wealth and privilege who seek political office, and it is a testament to the long line of Kennedys that they have produced so many individuals who fight the good fight for average Americans.
In the current political climate where wealth creates tremendous power, it’s character that becomes the deciding factor, and differentiates Democrats from Republicans. Yes, Mitt Romney is wealthy, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s all he is.
As President Obama said in his eulogy for Ted Kennedy:
“Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and suffering of others – the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier sent to battle without armor; the citizen denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from. The landmark laws that he championed — the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children’s health care, the Family and Medical Leave Act -all have a running thread.
Ted Kennedy’s life’s work was not to champion those with wealth or power or special connections. It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding. He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.”
I give you the DNC’s tribute to Ted Kennedy: