The passing of an iconic figure. He was flawed, but then so are most great public figures. His enemies , and he had many, would never let him forget Chappaquiddick. But somehow, he managed to get past that awful tragedy in which a young woman died. Teddy kept on, as probably he had to.
As a younger senator, he seemed to have the right instincts for social justice, but he wasn’t skilled enough, or charismatic enough to pull it off. His pursuit for the ultimate throne—the presidency—seemed a Quixotic pursuit, aimed more at securing his brothers’ legacies than his own. But then, having failed at that game, he came into his own. He secured a position of power in that most powerful club—the US Senate-- and he used that power for public good, unlike many, perhaps even most of his senate colleagues.
Senator Kennedy is one of the last of his kind—rich public officials who succeed in giving back to the nation, and whose instincts seem drawn to at least try to better the nation. Many rich people still give—through foundations, or simply private giving. But Kennedy tried to give back by becoming a powerful friend to that public that has few friends, and fewer still powerful and rich friends. He pursued civil rights, health care reform, and other socially useful causes just because they were right, while others in this club, Jesse Helms for example, fought tooth and nail to prevent social progress.
The nation is poorer with his passing.