Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died last night
, led a life obviously both accomplished and troubled.
But beyond the obvious signposts of the highs as the "Lion of the Senate
" and the lows of Chappaquidick
(and of course now the way Democrats will use his death
as an impetus to pass real health care reform), I first realized the depth of the connection he and his family's legacy had in 1980. That's when Kennedy lost his bid to unseat then-President Carter in the Democratic primaries, an unusual effort because it was a serious challenge to a sitting president from within his own party.
At the Democratic National Convention that year, Kennedy delivered a memorable speech
that I remember most for one thing — coming home and finding my mother crying as she watched it. While my mother cares about politics, she is not one to cry easily and the fact that I remember Kennedy's speech prompting her to cry stuck with me because it showed me how deeply the Kennedy name and legacy touched a generation.