Ted Kennedy was a lot of things. He was human, he had his failings like all humans have. Like a long line of old style Irish politicians from Massachusetts those failings and that humanity defined him and made him truly superb at the business of legislation and politics. He treated others like human beings and in that he was able to deal with them, listen to them and concede to them when necessary as human beings, not as the evil representatives of an opposing ideology. So many people do not treat their opponents, behind the closed doors where deal-making is done, with that humanity and respect. So many are not able to make compromises because they do not see people as people. They only see them as competitors, opponents, and ultimately enemies. Kennedy was not like that. Possibly because of his own humanity, his own tragedies and his own failings, he did not judge others harshly. He recognized that treating the opposition with respect, making deals, creating compromises, being a friend to the people with whom he dealt, and getting things done, were not signs of weakness or a signs that he lacked toughness. He wanted to get things done. His life as a public servant was not defined by high principal and lofty ideals, although he certainly espoused and fought for them. In the end his public service and his life was defined, as ultimately all of ours are defined, by his accomplishments. No matter what you say about him, you can not deny his accomplishments. As many have said, he accomplished more for the elderly, the poor and the infirm in the United States than probably any other person, ever. That is his legacy and our politicians and pundits and bloggers and all the ranters and ravers about principal and ideals should take a step back and say to themselves, “With all of my anger and vitriol and animosity, what am I accomplishing?” What they will find is that they are no Ted Kennedy.