Mr. SAIS Goes to Washington

As I transferred from the Red to Orange line at Roosevelt Road this morning, I saw the breaking news as the chryon scrolled across the bottom of a TV screen: Ted Kennedy had passed away.

There’s too much to unpack in one blog post about the man. Besides, it would pale in comparison to the books that are sure to follow. Hero. Villain. Statesman. Orator. Where do you even start?

Given my current course of study, my first thoughts of his passing – aside from the complicated historical legacy of the Kennedy family – have to do with the current health care debate. He was a key player in crafting it and shepherding it thus far in the Senate. It is on the verge of passing. It likely would have been his crowning achievement and is probably why he chose to back Obama over Clinton last year. Obama was closer to the type of health care reform Kennedy envisioned. Or so it would seem.

The Lincoln Memorial at night.

Who takes his place in the Senate? If Massachusetts sends a Republican to Washington, health care gets that much more complicated. Filibusters will be the order of the day for the foreseeable future. I’d say it seems unlikely Massachusetts would send anyone but a Democrat to the Senate, but stranger things have happened.

On a related note, I've always known health care was incredibly complicated. But I always had someone providing coverage and never had to give it much thought thanks to youth, good genes, and a lot of luck. But the more I learn about it and review the times in my life I went without coverage, (especially while living abroad in Jamaica) the more I understand the scope of the gamble I took. Perhaps it is better I never really knew. Blind luck beats skill and daring, fortune favors the bold and all that.

Maybe that’s not the best motto to claim as I head into my last two semesters of grad school, but it’ll suffice for this flight. And it may have to suffice for this blog space for a time. I suspect time for posting in this space will once again be severely curtailed. Meanwhile, welcome to our nation's capital.