Ted Brackman came of age in the ’60s, forged in a time of unpopular war and assassinations, when so many young activists found their voices.
Those of us who found our causes during that time often lost much of that passion later, and our way. The war in Vietnam continued despite our efforts. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy disappeared. Richard Nixon became president, then resigned in disgrace.
It was a tough time to keep the faith. Most of us didn’t. Life flowed on through and around us, our rage and indignation drifted away.
We might still feel the urge to fight, but our hearts weren’t in it. Some of lost our moral compasses, some of just moved on and became sportswriters.
Ted Brackman never lost his direction, or his willingness to push for the rights of others. Brackman and his entire family – wife Debra and daughters Greta and Tera – are inspirations, whether you agree with their politics or not.
The Brackmans have advocated for the homeless for decades, putting their lives where their hearts led them. In the column on Ted and Greta on Monday, the Brackmans spoke of the generosity of their hometown, Puyallup, and of the work still to be done.
And they talked about Ted’s pancreatic cancer.
After interviewing the family in their home, Brackman shook hands and said he was at the stage of his disease where he realized when he said goodbye to someone, he might not see them again.
There are fewer and fewer of us old activists now forged in the ’60s. Those like Ted are rarer still, reminding us of the best of what that era produced. Unselfish advocacy, the belief that we could stand up and change the world – the things that most of us could not keep alive, he did.
Ted shared that drive with his wife, passed it on to his daughters, and to others who listened. If you missed the column, take a moment and read it. And here’s hoping men and women like the Brackmans aren’t the last of their kind.