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The Man Who Should Be President, for Sen. Ted Kennedy

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?:

Immigration and Nationality Act, 1965,

National Cancer Act, 1971,

Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, 1986,

Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990,

Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990,

Civil Rights Act of 1991,

Mental Health Parity Act in 1996 and 2008,

State Children's Health Insurance Program, 1997,

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