Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Kennedy Receives Standing Ovation on Senate Floor

Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts made his return today to the Senate. Under normal circumstances, not a big deal for a long term Senator to return to work, but for Ted Kennedy, today was important, as being there meant not breaking his word.
It's been a rough couple of months for Ted Kennedy. Recently diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his brain and having undergone surgery and radiation and chemical treatment for it, Kennedy's health has not been the best over the course of the summer. Cancer patients can tell you, the treatment saps your energy and your strength, leaving you feeling weak and tired more easily than before the illness.

But Ted Kennedy has a tenacity about him, that, love him or hate him for his political views, has to be admired. It is this tenacity and integrity that prompted the senior Senator from Massachusetts, who is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and is an influential Democrat on health care issues to, despite the advice and urgings of friends and family, return to the Senate floor today in order to be present for a vote on a Medicare bill that he had pledged his support for. Upon casting his vote the Senate chambers, he received a standing ovation from the assemblage.

Today, the Senate chamber erupted into loud cheers when Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) returned to cast his vote on long-stalled Medicare legislation. Senators gave Kennedy, who has been battling a brain tumor, a long standing ovation. As he registered his vote, Kennedy said in a loud voice, “Aye,” and made a thumbs-up gesture.

In a statement today, Kennedy explained his return:

I return to the Senate today to keep a promise to our senior citizens and that’s to protect Medicare.

Win, lose or draw, I wanted to be here. I wasn’t going to take the chance that my vote could make the difference.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Kennedy's record. His controversies, both personal and public, leave a lot to be desired, in my opinion, for some of the issues he tackles and makes a stand for. However, one does not necessarily have to be a student of the teachings of Sun Tzu to realize respectability in one's opponents. Ted Kennedy has definitely earned that respect from me today.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


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