I am so very saddened to read the increasingly grim news about Senator Edward Kennedy's diagnosis. It sounds as though his cancer is a particularly vicious one (if there is such a thing), a direct attack on intellect and humor and energy.
There aren't many politicians of his ilk remaining. And whether your views and his are in sync (as in my case) or not, his passion and his energy for his work are, to use a tired phrase that in this case is true, awe-inspiring.
Robert Kennedy was the first politician who caught my attention, providing me with a vision of what politics might mean and accomplish. On the day that he was killed, I went to the town pool to do something that terrified me. I climbed to the top of the high board, looked down at the water which seemed to be about five miles beneath me, and decided that the only way that I had to honor his life was to dive in. Over and over again. I've never felt the slightest desire to dive off a high board since then, but that afternoon it was a means by which a small-town fourteen-year-old could demonstrate just the tiniest bit of courage in response to someone who had looked as though he might challenge our country to big things.
I wish I could make a high dive on behalf of Teddy Kennedy today.