Remembering Kennedy's 2008 Democratic convention speech

The senator wasn't supposed to make it to Denver, but he had something optimistic to say about healthcare reform

By Rebecca Traister

Published August 26, 2009 7:30PM (EDT)

One year ago yesterday, we stood in Denver and listened to Ted Kennedy assure a cheering, standing, adoring crowd, "For me, this is a season of hope. New hope for justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few. New hope -- and this is the cause of my life -- new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American -- north, south, east, west, young, old -- will have decent, quality healthcare as a fundamental right and not a privilege. We can meet these challenges with Barack Obama. Yes we can, and finally, yes we will."

If only the hope-juiced surety of party conventions had anything to do with compromise-addled political reality, if only campaign promises came with guarantees and if only Ted Kennedy had had the chance to finish the work that he started, there would be a hell of a lot less to mourn today.


Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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