Early this morning, we lost a great senator, a great man, and a great champion of working Americans. As UFCW President Joe Hansen said today:
Senator Kennedy was an unwavering champion for workers across the country. His passion, his vision and his devotion to the issues that matter ensured that working men and women had a voice in the halls of Congress. His commitment, his courage and his conviction brought dignity and opportunity to working families, to minorities and to recent immigrants.And one of the most important issues for those working families--the one he called "the cause of my life,"--was, and remains, health care reform. Meaningful health care reform. Senator Kennedy devoted himself to the cause over many years, in every way imaginable. As Ezra Klein writes:
He was not of the party that voted for more than a trillion in unfunded tax cuts but cannot bring itself to pay for health-care reform. He was not of the party that fears the next election more than the next failure to help America's needy. Rather, he belonged to the party of Medicare and Medicaid, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Children's Health Insurance Program, the Civil Rights Act and immigration reform. He belonged to the party that sought to advance the conditions and opportunities of the least among us.With the passing of Senator Kennedy, we have lost a true advocate, a passionate fighter for working people and for quality, affordable health care for all Americans. It remains to us now to carry on his fight, and push harder than ever for real health care reform. In Harold Meyerson's fine words:
Unions and health care, the causes of Kennedy's lifetime, are in furious battle on the Hill. The Democratic head and the Democratic heart are more closely aligned than they've been in decades.
More than any other American, Ted Kennedy kept liberalism's flame burning through the dark of the Reagan era. The liberals who continue his battles will need all the wit and smarts and joy and passion for justice that he brought to those fights.Go here for more on Sen. Kennedy's work fighting for affordable, quality health care.