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Gershon Hepner

Gershon Hepner

Posted: August 31, 2009 11:36 AM

The Dream Shall Not Die


"The dream shall never die,"
Ted Kennedy once said;
the dream is flitting by,
and very close to dead.
Now we're kept awake
by nightmares in which we
fall downward, and forsake
the up mobility,
the bright-eyed cause for which
the hope must yet endure,
not only for the rich,
but no less for the poor.
Only if we seek
to find, and do not yield,
and strongly serve the weak
and sick who aren't yet healed,
can we succeed: so strive
to see Ted's dream fulfilled,
and make it come alive,
by nightmares never killed.

Ted Kennedy, who died on August 25, 2009, ended his speech to the Democratic Convention in 1980 with these words:

And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now: "I am a part of all that I have met To [Tho] much is taken, much abides That which we are, we are-- One equal temper of heroic hearts Strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

In her tribute to Ted Kennedy in the Huffington Post Ariana Huffington wrote:

"Something died in America," said civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis of Robert F. Kennedy's untimely death. "Something died within all of us." Watching the snippets of Ted Kennedy's speeches playing again and again on cable and online reminds us of something else that has died in America: the national conversation about what the Bible calls "the least among us." It's been missing for a while. Kennedy's passing reminds us how much we need to revive it -- and make it central to the political debate. For over four decades, Kennedy, in his words and his actions, forced us to question how we, as a nation, were treating the poor, the forgotten, the working families struggling to make ends meet. He gave voice to the voiceless, refusing to let us forget about their plight...."The dream shall never die," Kennedy famously said in 1980. But the ranks of the poor have grown to over 38 million. And downward mobility--the antithesis of the American Dream--has become reality for hundreds of thousands of middle class families. We need to make sure that the focus on them, revived via the retrospectives on Ted Kennedy's work and words, doesn't fade away as soon as the tributes are over.

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