December 22, 2014

Paul E. Tsongas

In Memory of Senator Paul E. Tsongas

The death of Paul Tsongas will be deeply felt by every member of the Concord Coalition family. With his death, some will inevitably wonder whether the work of the Concord Coalition will continue. No one who had the privilege of knowing Paul Tsongas could have any doubt about the answer. Of course it will.

Senator Tsongas often spoke of legacies. To him, the work of the Concord Coalition went well beyond the tactical goal of balancing the federal budget. He was much more concerned with the larger purpose of restoring generational responsibility to our public policies.

In A Call to Economic Arms, Paul Tsongas wrote:

"Facing our challenges forthrightly is how we honor the labors of our forbearers. It is our moral imperative. But more importantly, it is the source of our hope. We are a blessed America. It is our will and determination that will deliver us. Let us, again, unleash the spirit of the American people and again secure our future and the future of our descendants."

In Journey of Purpose, Senator Tsongas described a larger reason for his work:

In the end, there must be a purpose to our journey. Human endeavor cannot consist simply of random acts and happenstance. There needs to be meaning beyond self that gives our limited days definition and direction. And only within that meaning can the judgment rendered upon our lives have worth.

Beyond individual achievement and failure, there is common purpose, shared and inescapable. It is not purpose derived from legislative mandates. It is genetic. It resides in every being because it is the continuance of that being. It is the sacredness of generational responsibility. To be given life and to ensure that life passes on, enhanced, cherished, protected.