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Common Humanity From the Words of the Late Senator, Ted Kennedy

By       Message Anthony Wade     Permalink
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-"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die." Senator Edward Kennedy

Death should bring people together. It should be a moment for us all to pause and realize our own mortality and the finality of life on this mortal coil. It should be a time for sadness of a life lost but hopefully reflection of a life lived. Unfortunately, the nastiness of politics does not adhere always to the rules of life. It has been a scant few hours since the announcement of the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy and already it has produced the best and the worst from us all.

I do not stand in judgment of Senator Kennedy as I did not when Ronald Reagan passed away. A life lost is a life lost. Both were inherently flawed men. Neither one better than the other. Both with mistakes marring their pasts. Reagan is revered amongst the right wing despite his obvious illegal activities as President and appalling economic policies. Kennedy is revered amongst liberals despite his horrific decision at Chappaquiddick. I would not seek to sum up the life of either man based upon their mistakes. But politics does. It is a sad statement that the hate embedded within the political rancor of this country has obscured us from our own common humanity. So I write today from the words of a man who worked his entire life in the service of this country and what those words should remind us of, as we all pause to remember and then move forward.

The work goes on. Indeed it does in this country. No matter what work we find ourselves in, it will survive us. It will march forward without us. It will not die with us. This shows me a couple of things. One, we should not allow ourselves to be defined by our work. Too often we can put so much into our professional lives that it becomes who we are. We can become obsessed, or fanatical. We can devote disproportioned amounts of time to our work and excuse it away as our life erodes from the inside out. President Bush once described to a woman who had three jobs as "uniquely American." God I hope not. The work always going on also teaches me that my role in the grand scheme is not as important as I make it out to be. Don't ever over-value yourself. There is a life out there to be lived, beyond the work which will always go on.

The cause endures. Whatever your cause may be, it will always endure. If you are a bleeding heart liberal, your cause will endure beyond your efforts and even your life. There will always be people willing to join the cause, believe in the cause and work on behalf of the cause. If you are a die-hard conservative, your cause too will endure beyond your efforts and even your life. If your cause is helping the disabled, educating kids, or fighting against global poverty -- your cause will endure. Unfortunately, even if your cause is blinding hate; it will endure. Causes endure because people are inherently seeking purpose and a sense of belonging. But like work, because the cause will endure, don't make your entire life be about the cause. Too often people make their lives a part of their cause instead of making their cause a part of their life.

Hope still lives. While he was dying of cancer, College Basketball Coach Jim Valvano once said, "don't give up, don't ever give up." That is the mantra of hope. No matter how dark the Bush years got, hope still lived for liberals and no matter how dark the Obama years may seem to be heading, hope will still live for conservatives. We go to work with the hope of a better life. We fight our causes for the hope of victory. Hope is the stitching that holds our common humanity together when everything else is trying to tear it apart. It is what makes us uniquely human. I can guarantee you this -- if you put your hope entirely in your work or your cause it will one day leave you hopeless. A life without hope is broken.

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Dreams shall never die. As long as the person is dreaming, they are alive. As long as we are dreaming, we hold onto our hope. Dreams provide a vision for our hope. Armed with dreams and hope we fight the battle of our causes and do the work that must be done in our lives. A life without dreams is one lived in despair. When one has no hope; one dreams not.

That is not what this country was founded on. America was founded on the belief that hard work was worthy and if you worked hard enough, you could make a better life for yourself and your family. It was founded on the belief that there is a cause greater than ourselves. While these two concepts have taken some hits lately and suffered some damage; hope still springs eternal and dreams die hard.

So for one day at least, can we try to remember about all that brings us together as a nation and a people instead of what forces use to drive us apart? Can we recognize that while we may have disagreed with Ted Kennedy on matters of political discourse that we can agree that the work must go on to bridge the gaps we keep placing between ourselves? Can we recognize that while we may not have agreed with Ted Kennedy on matters of social philosophy that we can agree that causes founded on principled stands deserve to endure even amidst the disagreement? Can we join in remembering someone who has passed without passing judgment? Can the ideals of Edward Kennedy stand next to the ideals of Ronald Reagan, even if just for a day, to hope beyond our hopes that our dreams will never die as long as we remember our common humanity.
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Anthony Wade, a contributing writer to opednews.com, is dedicated to educating the populace to the lies and abuses of the government. He is a 46-year-old independent writer from New York with political commentary articles seen on multiple (more...)
 

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