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Politics & Society

A Legacy Of Respect

Unless you might have been totally closed off from the rest of the world, you know by now that longtime Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy — the last surviving brother of the late president John F. Kennedy — died last night after losing a battle with brain cancer.

Here are the the remarks of an obviously solemn President Obama, whom Kennedy reportedly encouraged to seek the presidency in 2006 and later formally endorsed his bid:

Of course, we know not everyone was a fan of Kennedy's politics, but there is something remarkable to be said about the bipartisan show of respect since news of his passing, even among some of his strongest, who somehow were in light of his passing.

As an example, here's a sympathy expression from former First Lady Nancy Reagan, widow of the late president Ronald Reagan, a Republican:

Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. ... But Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another.

Which leads me to wonder: In watching all of the coverage of his life and death, are there others who find themselves reconciling their strong disagreement at times with Ted Kennedy, the politician, with their appreciation for Ted Kennedy, the public servant, or, say, the Kennedy political "dynasty" as a whole.

In the days ahead, we'll have more on Ted Kennedy's eight-term legacy in the U.S. Senate, with discussion about both his supporters and detractors ...

In the meantime, tell us more ... how will you remember him (feel free to raise points of disagreement, but respectfully, please).