I don’t really follow politics too closely, particularly American politics.
But today, when I got the news that Ted Kennedy (Democratic Party senator from Massachusetts) had passed away, I really felt a sense of something lost. He was the last of the famous Kennedy brothers in politics (John and Robert Kennedy). He was not as famous as them; far more controversial; struggling with alcoholism and sex scandals. But, when I read some eulogies on the web, they spoke such wonderful things about how much he had meant to so many people. What really surprised me was how personal some of them were. He really seemed to have been a kind man even when not acting a political role, and when the cameras were switched off.
I also stumbled upon this beautiful speech he once presented, and just had to post it here:
The more our feelings diverge, the more deeply felt they are, the greater is our obligation to grant the sincerity and essential decency of our fellow citizens on the other side. . . .
In short, I hope for an America where neither “fundamentalist” nor “humanist” will be a dirty word, but a fair description of the different ways in which people of good will look at life and into their own souls.
I hope for an America where no president, no public official, no individual will ever be deemed a greater or lesser American because of religious doubt — or religious belief….
I hope for an America where the power of faith will always burn brightly, but where no modern inquisition of any kind will ever light the fires of fear, coercion, or angry division.
I hope for an America where we can all contend freely and vigorously, but where we will treasure and guard those standards of civility which alone make this nation safe for both democracy and diversity.
~ Speech on “Truth and Tolerance in America,” Oct. 3, 1983, Lynchburg, Va
Sounds all the more relevant today, doesn’t it? Not just America, but worldwide…