"I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. "
Right wing hatemongers bellowed falsely that the Senator's funeral services would become a "political rally" on behalf of universal healthcare. This is what they feared, but they don't get it. The Senator has always spoken for himself and for those without a voice, and he wasn't about to stop simply because, or rather, in spite of his funeral. His life was politics; how could there not be talk of politics at the Senator's final farewell? Not the crass and ugly politics practiced by hypocrites and haters, but politics as the byproduct of our highest ideals and as a means toward a more perfect union.
It'll be interesting to see how low the cowardly right will stoop in attacking Ted Kennedy's gradchildren who offered intercession prayers on behalf of the many social legislative themes that inspired the Senator's life. Among these, of course, is universal healthcare legislation, “for what my grandpa called the cause of his life, as he said so often: in every part of this land, that every American will have decent quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.” Not surprisingly, the wingnut sickos have already begun their attacks.
Ted Kennedy's eloquent letter to the Pope (emphases mine) follows below:
"Most Holy Father I asked President Obama to personally hand deliver this letter to you. As a man of deep faith himself, he understands how important my Roman Catholic faith is to me, and I am so deeply grateful to him. I hope this letter finds you in good health. I pray that you have all of God's blessings as you lead our church and inspire our world during these challenging times. I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines.What a wonderful few days of services for Senator Kennedy. The outpouring of love and affection from the people was tremendous. If you missed it, Ted Kennedy Jr.'s remembrance of his dad (linked here) was a special treat.
"I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago and although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life. I have been blessed to be part of a wonderful family and both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provides solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path. I want you to know Your Holiness that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war.
"Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator. I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."