The Man Who Should Be President In memoriam: Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Feb. 22, 1932 – Aug. 25, 2009
"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."
--- speech conceding the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination.
Ted, headlines read of your passing,
Camelot Ends, Again;
Liberal Lion Dies;
A Torch Extinguished – But we refuse to believe it.
You taught us better than that,
“I speak out of a deep sense of urgency
about the anguish and anxiety I have seen across America.”
The death of our Liberal Lion
Must not nullify his roar.
“The cause endures” in a jungle
Of disease, poverty, unemployment,
And every child left behind.
In a cacophony of conservative voices
You sang of Jefferson and Jackson,
Committed to jobs and health care
While opponents labeled you liberal,
Your laws and causes, Socialism.
But you knew better than that.
Which 300+ bills
You authored and enacted
Into law were written in the reddest ink?:
Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990,
Mental Health Parity Act in 1996 and 2008,
No Child Left Behind Act, 2002,
the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009,
Or was it several unsuccessful efforts at immigration reform?
Or Universal Health Care you championed for since 1970?
In Camelot you would be King,
In America, the man who should be President.
Contemporary Ben Franklin,
Master Orator, Elder Statesman,
Super Diplomat, The Man
Who got the deed done,
White hopes shrouded
By the black cloak draping
Your desk, formerly your brother’s,
white roses in a black vase – a song of yourself,
The great “I” not individual
But communal, community, America.
Your 46 years in the chamber
Outlasted single and two-term occupants
Of the Oval Office, 9 to be exact –
there would be no rest
For a Senator whose cigarette box
Engraving read, “The first shall be last.”
Good Catholic, Moses of the United States,
Your Old Testament values
Never shrugged due to New Testament politics,
And none of us have yet seen
The Liberal Land of milk and honey.
Though your body be dead
Your legacy is not.
Out of that deep sense of urgency
The cause must endure.
The illiterate must not remain illiterate,
The unemployed must not stay unemployed,
The sick must not get sicker,
The hungry not get hungrier
While the rich continue getting richer.
You vowed yourself to Whitman’s America,
Gave us a song and a dance and a dream.
Had you been President
America would be coughing less
And missing less time at work.
May every Patriotic American,
With Faith rooted in the Bill of Rights,
Get a tattoo of you on their Left arm,
The one used in the voting booth,
Hoping to keep the American Dream alive
And showing that “the dream shall never die."
© Joe Gouveia, August 26, 2009
Causes José Gouveia Supports
1) Small Press Distribution; 2) Cultural Center of Cape Cod; 3) WOMR-FM 92.1 Provincetown community radio; 4) Grub St., Inc., Boston Writing Center; 5)...