What Can Ted Kennedy’s "Good Ending" Teach Us?

What Women Really Think
Aug. 27 2009 11:45 AM

What Can Ted Kennedy’s "Good Ending" Teach Us?


There’s a slim hope ventured by some in today’s articles about Senator Kennedy that perhaps his death might somehow help improve the prospects of health care reform by briefly relieving the partisan acrimony and serving as a reminder of the urgency of his signature legislative cause, which is, after all, about people’s lives and deaths. But no one is counting on it. And when you think about it, the ailing Kennedy’s own end-of-life decisions seem like every American’s ideal, hardly an advertisement for overhauling a system that makes such options possible. First, he got to choose the intensive treatment he wanted-surgery, chemo, and radiation-although his tumor was judged inoperable and lethal, and although he was diagnosed at 76. And then he got to die a dignified death, not trapped in a hospital, but saying farewell to family, friends, and dogs on Cape Cod. No one would dream of begrudging him his "good ending," as the Times called it; it is inspiring. But perhaps the Senator wouldn’t mind if, as we pay tribute to the valiant close to an impressive career, we also note how much his "prudently aggressive" medical approach must have cost, and how unusually lucky he was in the way it played out.


  Photograph of Ted Kennedy by Jim Rogash/Getty Images.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.