Monday, April 02, 2007

Frank Rich on Elizabeth Edwards

Technorati Tags: , ,

Frank Rich has a fine essay on Elizabeth Edwards' decision to stay in public life, which includes the most astute answer I have yet seen to the media fret about how and whether John Edwards could handle the demands of running the country with his attention divided by his wife's illness [emphasis mine]:

Whatever Mr. Edwards's flaws as a candidate turn out to be, he is not guilty of the most persistent charge leveled since his wife's diagnosis. As Ms. Couric phrased it, "Even those who may be very empathetic to what you all are facing might question your ability to run the country at the same time you're dealing with a major health crisis in your family."

Would it be better if he instead ran the country at the same time he was clearing brush on a ranch? Polio informed rather than crippled the leadership of F.D.R.; Lincoln endured the sickness and death of a beloved 11-year-old son during the Civil War. In the wake of our congenitally insulated incumbent, who has given our troops neither proper armor nor medical care and tried to hide their coffins off camera, surely it can only be a blessing to have a president, whether Mr. Edwards or someone else, who knows intimately what it means to cope daily with the threat of mortality. It's hard to imagine such a president smiting stem-cell research or skipping the funerals of the fallen.

Indeed, of all the reasons to applaud Elizabeth Edwards's decision to stay in politics, the most important may be her insistence, by her very action, that we not compartmentalize the harsh reality of death and the imperatives of public policy, both at home and at war. ...

For those (like me), who cannot get enough of being inspired and heartened and strengthened by Elizabeth Edwards' grace, kindness, and courage, there is also this Newsweek interview with Jonathan Alter.

1 comment:

Chief said...

Yesterday, 2 April, Mrs. Chief & I had a very good friend who underwent a mastectomy for some type of stage 0 breast cancer and reconstructive surgery all in the same day. For any who may question why surgery was her first option all I can say is that she lost her first, and only, husband 9 years ago to pancreatic cancer.

P.S. If one cannot handle a campaign and a personal crisis like this at the samr time, one does not deserve to be President.