Ted Kennedy did not go gentle into that good night. He fought for his beliefs as long as he could, and he struggled to stay alive when others might have given up. He and the other Kennedys loved one another and looked out for one another. There was no cost-benefit analysis in their family life, no sense that age, illness, injury, or disability would diminish their value.
Ted Kennedy’s death is an occasion to reflect that every life is precious, from the very beginning to the very end.
— John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. With James Ceaser and Andrew Busch, he is co-author of Epic Journey: The 2008 Elections and American Politics.