Democrats made big news at yesterday’s Congressional swearing-in ceremonies. The Secretary of the Senate refused to seat Roland Burris, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevitch’s choice to fill President Elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. At the same time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was preparing the way for Al Franken to be sworn in as Minnesota’s junior senator, despite a new lawsuit by challenger Norm Coleman questioning the state’s hand recount procedure.
Outside of the media circus there was a smaller, but no less remarkable, Senate victory. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who is currently battling a brain tumor, made his way back to Capitol Hill, fulfilling a pledge that he made during the Democratic National Convention this past fall:
“I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate when we begin the great test.”
After being sworn into the Senate, he held the Bible at the swearing-in ceremony for his son Patrick, who is a member of the House of Representatives. Kennedy is weak and uses a cane now, and he has obviously lost a lot of weight, but I think he looks better than he has in years.
Conservatives have said a lot of unkind things about Ted Kennedy over the years, much of it deserved, but today we should salute the courage of this old lion as he prepares for what might be his final battle in the arena of public service.