The Kennedy Legacy

Not just politics as usual

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged this country to be better, kinder and stronger. He understood the tremendous capacity in each of us and knew that the content of this nation’s character is defined less by moments of individual action than by those fateful times when our experiences collide; where our stories meet.

He was a poet and an orator who knew that words without an audience were only words – no matter how poignant. The dream he so powerfully outlined on that hot August day in 1963 would have mattered little had it not been for the hundreds of thousands of brave believers in the crowd, ready to take his message back home to the streets of their cities and towns, where it mattered most.

Today we swear in a great President who embodies the future Dr. King envisioned. In a day that unites our past and future in a poignant, present moment, we pledge to work together and do better by the legacy they share.”

Congressman Joe Kennedy III

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Jack Schlossberg: My generation showed up



By Jack Schlossberg, Special to CNN
November 8, 2012 

Editor’s note: Jack Schlossberg is a New York resident, a sophomore at Yale University and a contributor to the Yale Daily News and The Yale Herald. He is the grandson of President John F. Kennedy.


(CNN)
— It wasn’t supposed to happen. America’s youth were supposed to be apathetic and disheartened. We weren’t supposed to be at the polls.

The word was that we had fallen out of love with President Obama, the man who inspired us four years ago. Big money would silence our voices and make our efforts inconsequential. Two-thousand-twelve would be nothing like 2008; the youth vote wouldn’t be the decisive force it was four years ago.

We saw it differently. In two consecutive elections, more than half of my generation voted: It is clear now, if it wasn’t before, that we recognize our responsibility to our country. In fact, this time we made up an even larger percentage (19%) of the electorate than we did four years ago (18%).

We still support the man who has stood up for us: Sixty percent of voters age 18-29 chose President Obama on Tuesday. I don’t think any young person was surprised, however, that older Americans had no idea what we were thinking.

My generation has been burdened by a misguided war that damaged our credibility abroad. We’ve been told the national debt is so large that we’ll never be able to pay it back.

We have experienced an economic crisis unlike any since the Great Depression. We have watched our environment head toward disaster and our government stand at an impasse. We have been told over and over that America is no longer the great country it once was.

But our participation in the election and our overwhelming support for the president are indicative of our hope for the future and our compulsion to start tackling these problems now.

We don’t support the president just because he’s “cool,” plays basketball or listens to Jay-Z. Instead, we recognize that he, too, is ready to meet these great challenges. And we want to help him build a stronger, safer, more just America.

This election also revealed that my generation has moved past many of the debates of our parents and grandparents: The youth vote was imperative to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maine and Maryland, the rejection of constitutional discrimination in Minnesota and the election of a president who supports equal pay, reproductive rights and fair immigration reform. For us, these issues are a matter of common sense.

We may have been disenchanted with politics over the past few years, but this election proves that it’s not because we don’t care. Rather, we reject petty posturing, partisan gridlock and inaction.

Voting is great, but it’s not an accomplishment. It’s a responsibility.

We recognize that going to the polls is the easiest thing we are going to have to do. In August, I wrote that in this election, young people would display a deep commitment to our country and its ideals, and provide a preview of the America we intend to build. We accomplished the first two, and that gives me hope that we will succeed in building a future of which we can be proud.

The next time someone claims that my generation doesn’t care and won’t help, remind them that we showed up, voted for change and are ready to get to work.

(Source: CNN)

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Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock. He was the sunny, joyful child who bore the brunt of his brothers’ teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off. When they tossed him off a boat because he didn’t know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail. When a photographer asked the newly elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, “It’ll be the same in Washington.”
President Obama’s eulogy for Ted Kennnedy, 2009

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'My uncle Teddy' - a letter from Caroline Kennedy



Caroline Kennedy sent an email to supporters earlier today, remembering the moment her uncle Ted Kennedy lent his voice to President Obama’s campaign:

Four years ago today, I joined my Uncle Teddy and thousands of excited students at American University to endorse Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.

Barack Obama had stirred something in young people and the young at heart. I saw the passion in my own teenage children, and I heard it from a different generation of people who said they felt like they did when my father ran for president.

We felt strongly that we needed to elect a President who urged us to believe in ourselves, who could tie that belief to our highest ideals, and who understood that together we can do great things.

Four years later, as I think about what first inspired me to support Barack Obama, I’m proud we have a president who has fought hard for the values Teddy held dear, and stood up on issues that matter, regardless of the consequences.

Will you join me by saying what first inspired you to stand with Barack Obama?

Teddy understood that the challenges of health care aren’t political—they are personal. That’s why Teddy fought for 40 years to make health care a right and not a privilege for American families.

How proud he would have been to see his candidate sign the Affordable Care Act into law as president, giving all Americans the security of knowing that their health care will be there when they need it most.

In his speech four years ago today, Teddy reminded us all of that bright light of hope and possibility that shines even in the darkest hours. He knew that with Barack Obama as president, America would shine again. I don’t think he would be surprised to know that four years later, this president would have ended the war in Iraq, repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and guaranteed women the right to equal pay for equal work.

The 2012 election will be harder than the last. And as you think about what role you can play this time, I want you to remember that when Teddy joined this campaign, it wasn’t just Barack Obama who drew him in.

It was you.

The possibility of a campaign run by ordinary people who are determined to change our country for the better and who are willing to work as hard as necessary inspired him then, and it’s what inspires me today.

Thanks for all you do. I’ll see you out there,

Caroline

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