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

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.


By 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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