Kennedy was a True Democrat – Rawlings

Former President Jerry RawlingsFormer President Jerry Rawlings has paid tribute to the late Edward Moore Kennedy, affectionately known as Ted who passed away on Tuesday.

In a statement issued on Wednesday the former President said Ted Kennedy stood out as a true American democrat stoutly defending the ideals of the Democratic party and standing his ground on several thorny subjects including the current health care reforms suggested by the Obama administration.

“Since 1962 when he first entered the United States Senate Ted Kennedy also stood out as man who was ready to defend the vulnerable. In 1963 he spoke boldly in promoting Civil Rights and during the Bush years was instrumental in reforming the American educational system.

“Ted’s brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy in his inaugural address as United States President made the famous statement ‘ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’. Ted epitomised the American who preferred to do something for his country.

“As a Kennedy he was exposed to the vicissitudes of political life right from day one but he rather used his famous surname as useful tool that kept him in the senate for nine terms representing the state of Massachusetts.”

President Rawlings noted that Kennedy helped carve the modern American judiciary through his membership and later chairmanship of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

“From health, education, labour and pensions, Ted Kennedy paid his dues and did not hesitate to stand his ground where many feared to tread.

“Many thought it was suicidal for the departed lion of American politics to stick his neck out in favour of Barrack Obama during the Democratic primaries at a time when the first term senator was trailing his senior Hillary Clinton in the polls. That endorsement helped to turn the tide in favour of Obama and I am convinced he goes home smiling at what he helped achieve for America and the world at large,” President Rawlings said.

The former President said having championed the Civil Rights campaign in the 1960s Kennedy must have felt very proud when Obama finally brought Martin Luther’s King’s dream to fruition.

“Mr. Kennedy your passion and love for your country endeared you to Americans from both political divides and your life will be celebrated long after you bid your goodbyes.