mercredi 21 mai 2008

A letter to Senator Ted Kennedy and 75,000

Portland, Oregon
Sunday, May 18, 2008

A letter to Senator Ted Kennedy, and a message to all of us.

May 21, 2008

Dear Senator Kennedy,

I could not have been more shaken had the news of your seizure and diagnosis been someone from my own family. As an American, I suppose you are my family. The Kennedys are our nation's family.

My mother worked some years ago for a Democratic think-tank in Washington, where John Jr. did a summer internship. It was an experience my mother will never forget, getting to know John the little that she did and to appreciate him as much as she did, handing him the phone when his mother called, asking to speak to her son, Jackie Kennedy Onassis on the other end of the line. I was born the year before you were first elected to the senate, disappointed my mother by not coming home from LA to DC to meet John myself, and grew up with the ideals of the Democratic Party and the 1960's, the Kennedy era, as the foundation of my personal and political structure.

I was little, but no one born in 1961 could have been too young in the 1960's not to understand the beginning of the contractions our nation was experiencing socially and ethically to bring us to our ideal. I felt betrayed later by the efforts to keep us from realizing our destiny and our greatness, and I am proud and moved that on Sunday 75,000 people came to hear Senator Obama address them in Oregon. To see a biracial man, his black wife and their two daughters before that crowd was a moment I will never forget. Times have changed, and the pendulum is swinging back as time moves forward and does its work. Perhaps it had to be someone born in 1961, come to maturity at this time, to pick up the thread of the time of our childhood, and all it meant. Maybe that is what destiny means.

It is too bitter an irony for me that at a moment when the planets are aligning to bring life back into that political and social spirit, at a moment when the candidate you have chosen to back is about to move on to the acceptance of our party's nomination for the presidential election and to win it -- and I am sure that he will, because he -- who resembles perhaps more closely your brother Robert than John -- alone has dared not only to speak of your brother John, but to pick up the mantle of what John F. Kennedy meant to Americans, and people around the world, of all faiths, persuasions, races and classes, has dared to use his ideas and terms of speech and made them believable because he believes them, and because they are true, has asked us to accept the burden of our own responsibility at the side of our president and our government and make our country be what we want it to be, and because after so much betrayal and so much loss, Americans are yearning to believe again.

How is it that at this moment, you are asked to fight this personal battle?

Senator Kennedy, our nation needs you like never before to help Barack Obama -- my classmate from Barnard/Columbia 1983 -- accomplish the work that he has set out to do. My every thought and prayer is with you for your success in beating this brain cancer so that you can lead the effort on the Hill and win the health care battle. History owes you that. We Americans and our elected representatives owe you and ourselves that.

I will personally do everything in my power to help. My husband is an ob/gyn in the public hospital system in France, working in one of the top three Paris area hospitals for maternal and fetal medicine, and has been for more than 25 years. He is an extraordinary doctor and surgeon, respected by all his colleagues. I have known him for 20 years and moved to France to marry him 6 years ago. To watch him and his colleagues work is to know why more than 90 senators and congress people were right in supporting a single-payer system, such as France, Canada, the UK and most of Europe enjoy.

I know that government-run health care doesn't in the least diminish choice or quality of medical care. On the contrary, it alone enhances and guarantees both, and I will write to every member of to talk about that and ask people to continue to work beyond the election in November to make sure that no opposition effort can be mounted during this administration to block true, universal, affordable health care reform. Every American who stands with Senator Obama for the change we believe in and the government we want must stand again and be heard to make this reform the nation's law and your legacy.

Get well, Senator Kennedy, we love, admire and support you and your family, and as Paul S. Grogan was reported in this morning’s New York Times as having said, we need our Horatio at the helm.

Sincerely yours,


“I am asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington… I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

-- Senator Barack Obama

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