I found Clinton’s comments about Kennedy’s death to be offensive, while I understand that she was not hoping for Senator Barack Obama to be hurt. The more important point is to remember that Kennedy, for a short time, managed to create a vision of justice and a coalition of hope that still inspires people today.
Senator Ted Kennedy summed up his brother’s life best during his eulogy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral after his death:
My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.
As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:
“Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not.”
For a recording of the full speech, you can go here.
We should honor Robert Kennedy’s legacy by thinking about how the likely Democratic nominee matches up to these standards and create lasting coalition that will allow us to dream a bit more.