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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

How 'bout a little humanity?

Thank the Lord, Maureen Dowd is back!

After taking a few months off to write her next book and then unexpectedly grieve for her mother who recently passed away, Dowd has returned to the op-ed pages of the New York Times just in time to point out the inhumanity of George W. Bush.

She writes of the plight of Cindy Sheehan, a mom who lost her 24-year-old son, Casey to the war in Iraq. Sheehan has camped outside W's Crawford, Texas, ranch (where our esteemed president will spend five weeks of vacation) in order to get a little face time with the prez.

But he's too inhuman and lacking in what Dowd calls "elementary shrewdness" to walk down the end of his driveway and hear her out. That's because he lacks what Clinton possessed in spades, the ability to feel another's pain.

In his first meeting with Sheehan a month after the tragic death of her son he referred to her as "Mom." When it comes to my three sons, I am a great big Mama Bear and I'm afraid such a comment would cause me to snarl my teeth and swat my bear claw at his smug face.

Hasn't anyone ever taught this guy basic human compassion and sincerity? That's it! What bothers me most (and the list is quite long) about W is that he lacks sincerity. I swear there's not one authentic emotional reaction from that guy save for the faces he made during the first televised presidential debate last fall.

Calling the grieving mother of a soldier he sent to war "Mom." How patronizing and absurd and had that been me I may have had to spit on his shoes and remind him that I am most assuredly NOT his mom and that the person who called me mom DIED in a war he sent him to fight for reasons that later proved not to be valid.

Dowd writes:

It's hard to think of another president who lived in such meta-insulation. His rigidly controlled environment allows no chance encounters with anyone who disagrees. He never has to defend himself to anyone, and that is cognitively injurious. He's a populist who never meets people...

We traveled through our nation's capital while on vacation and it was a great opportunity to talk to the kids about history. I'm convinced that what makes a great president is his (and hopefully soon, her) humanity.

My fellow Berea High School classmate Tim Russo asked the question recently: Who are your heroes? My heroes are people who understand basic human compassion, those who are imperfectly, splendidly human:

My dad, Chuck Lewis
My husband, Dan Hoke
My mom, Nancy Lewis
My grandparents, Emil (deceased Feb. 3, 1995) & Nancy Litvak
Abraham Lincoln
Thomas Jefferson
Harry Truman
Thomas Merton
Writer, William Zinsser
Writer and Pulitzer Prizewinner, Edith Wharton
John F. Kennedy
Photographer, Margaret Bourke-White
St. Theresa of Avila

And the three most important people in my life -- Ryan, Patrick and Michael Hoke.

Who are your heroes? And why?

Soliciting questions for Supreme Court nominee
Received an e-mail from my colleague Rick Knee at National Writer's Union. He forwarded this message from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer who is seeking questions for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts from her constituents:

Dear Friend:

Judge John G. Roberts has been nominated to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.

Without prejudging the nominee, I do believe that Judge Roberts' record raises questions about his commitment to the right to privacy, protection of the environment, and other important issues. With so many rights and freedoms hanging in the balance, this Supreme Court nomination deserves a thorough and in-depth evaluation by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I believe that it shouldn't be only Senators who get to ask the questions of Judge Roberts. I want to know what you care about the most. That is why I have joined with six of my colleagues -- Senators Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Mary Landrieu, Debbie Stabenow, Maria Cantwell, and Hillary Clinton -- in reaching out to the American people.

We are asking you to help us let the Judiciary Committee know the questions that are on the minds of many Americans. If you have a question for Judge Roberts, please visit our special webpage. There you can fill out a simple form and submit your question. I will compile all questions from you and other California constituents and submit them to the Judiciary Committee as it considers the Roberts nomination.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Knee points at that you may also want to read this report , compiled by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, examining Roberts' record on cases dealing with media-related issues such as the First Amendment, freedom of information and ownership consolidation.

Lawyers back shield law
Finally, there's this report from AP that the American Bar Association has overwhelmingly voted to support the federal shield law.

"Our action today acknowledges the important role of journalists and the media to providing the public with significant information to ensure an informed democracy, and reporters' need to be able to protect sources in order to get that information," said Michael S. Greco of Boston, ABA's president. "It also recognizes reasonable standards for compelling journalists to name sources or disclose information gleaned in gathering news," he said.

1 comment:

estarz said...

Well written. Also, I have always loved the work of Margaret Bourke-White!