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It has just been reported that long-time Lion of the Senate and hero to many progressives, Senator Ted Kennedy has passed away. From the Kennedy family:

"We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever," a family statement said. "We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice."

CNN report is here.

There has been a lot of weeping and moaning, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments on this site lately regarding whether or not President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are serious about achieving real and substantive health care reform this year. Quality, affordable healthcare available to all Americans was the major cause of Senator Kennedy's public service career; we must all now work together to finally realize his vision. Instead of fighting amongst ourselves and worrying about whether or not we have been "sold out", now more than ever we need to continue to push. We may have lost our "Liberal Lion" tonight, but now it falls to all of us to roar.

Femlaw posted an inspiring and important diary tonight that all of us who care about the healthcare fight, and indeed, the future of progressive legistation over the coming years, should see: Hope and the Healthcare Phobocracy. Senator Kennedy had to move forward over the course of his career in the face of fear mongering and learned helplessness, and he consistently stood up for the powerless, the voiceless. His legacy must live on, and it is up to us to move it forward.

Rest in peace, dear Senator Kennedy. Thank you for your voice, thank you for fighting on our behalf. I and many of my fellow progressives are forever grateful to you. And we will continue to roar on your behalf.

Originally posted to Jennifer Clare on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 11:34 PM PDT.

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