Saturday, August 29, 2009

Senator Kennedy taught me the power of story

The front page of today's Boston Globe has a headline, "Senator Kennedy's Life, in Song and Story." It's about last night's remarkable tribute in which so many people told stories, sang songs, and otherwise communicated how much he mattered.

Senator Kennedy mattered to me, too. Beyond his politics (which I almost always agreed with), he taught me about the power of story. In the "Hillary era" of healthcare reform many years ago, I met Senator Kennedy at a fundraising reception. In my brief moment with him I asked why he was so committed to this issue. He said something along the lines of "I had a broken back, my son had cancer, and my mother is having visiting nurses treat her at home." I knew then that his committment was real and ongoing. And I also learned that, even for the most powerful of men, stories matter. Thank you and farewell, Senator Kennedy.