Few public figures were more polarizing than Ted Kennedy.

It was hard to hate Kennedy because he had a passion for his beliefs and never backed down from a position based on its popularity or what it would do to his.

He was equally hard to admire. His personal failings as a well-known womanizer and party boy - as well as, his involvement in the death of a companion in a car crash off the Chappaquiddick Bridge - make it difficult to heap too much praise upon him.

He was well acquainted with sorrow.

His oldest brother died in war. A sister died in a plane crash. Both surviving brothers were assassinated.

Kennedy struggled under the weight of being the surviving heir to Camelot.

Hopefully, his legacy will be based on his final two decades. He survived those scandals and was able to move beyond them.

He was a champion of those who did not have powerful interest groups in their corner.

He fought for AIDS victims, he authored the Title IX bill that elevated opportunities for women in sports, and he fought tirelessly for a national health care plan to help care for those who can't afford traditional health insurance.

He looked President Barack Obama in the eye and implored him to get a health care bill passed. It was his main focus as his own health failed.

But that dream is further on the horizon now, without Kennedy's help to get the bill passed.

He was a true liberal and he wasn't afraid of the label. However, he also made many close friends with Senators from across the aisle.

Kennedy earned much of the scorn that has been placed upon him.

But he also authored thousands of bills, worked hard for civil rights and stood firm against powerful opponents.

President Obama remembered him Wednesday morning, calling him the greatest senator of our time.
"For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts," Obama said. "I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've profited as President from his encouragement and wisdom."

His politics and personality certainly didn't represent every American.

But if every member of Congress were as true to his beliefs and as passionate about his causes as Kennedy was, the legislative body would be far better for it.