When God asked Cain, "where is your brother?" Cain replied, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?" Cain put to words what billions of people over thousands of years would echo when trying to justify their lack of interest, compassion, love for their fellow man (and woman). But recently there was a man, one who dedicated his career to see that his fellow man was taken care of. He sought equality in places where people thought it was ok to be unequal. He sought compromise in an arena where you stuck with your own kind. His name was Edward "Teddy" Kennedy and he died recently, August 25, 2009.
This August of 2009 has seen the end of two great Americans, two great Christians. Senator of Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and his sister Eunice Mary Shriver, who died earlier this month. Eunice Shriver was best known for being one of the co-founders of the Special Olympics.
Senator Kennedy made it his life's work to see health care reform happen here in the U.S. Right now that's a very sensitive subject. Whether or not you are for or against a government health plan, what a vast majority of us can agree on is that people deserve health care. For example, when questioned about illegal immigrants receiving government health care under the proposed reform, at a recent Democratic gathering in Marion County, Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL8) said that they would not. But then he asked this question, ‘Should illegal immigrants be covered under health care reform?’ According to Bruce Seaman, Marion County Democrats Examiner, less than 10 people raised their hands. He then asked, ‘Should illegal immigrants not be covered under health care reform?’ Around 50 hands went up. But later when the cost of illegal immigrants using the ER came up in discussion Congressman Grayson asked this, ‘Should illegal immigrants receive treatment at emergency rooms?’ Every hand went up.
The point is that most everyone believes what Senator Kennedy so passionate said at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He said that the 'cause of his life' was to see that every American should have 'descent quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.' Most of us believe that every human, even illegal immigrants, have the right to be treated. But under the current system, even natural-born citizens are living without health care.
Whether you're for or afraid of a government ran system, change needs to be made. Senator Kennedy made it his life's mission to be his brother's keeper, and yours, and mine. He may have pushed for universal health care for 40+ years, but what he truly wanted was to see that everyone was taken care of. That no one was left without. With congress coming to a conclusion on health care reform in the coming months, I hope that that important value does not get lost in all the strutting and grand standing and straight mud-slinging over this topic. People need health care, lets find a way to give it to them.
-Edward "Teddy" Moore Kennedy (1932–2009) was a senator from Massachusetts from 1962 to 2009. He died from complications brought about by a malignant brain tumor.
- For more info about the debate on health care for illegal immigrants see Illegal-health-care.