Friday, June 13, 2008

the death of tim russert

I usually take Fridays off; on many I tie up a few loose ends, run some errands, get my bearings for the weekend. On some Fridays I fulfil small obligations that are beyond the church, little things that might be denominational or connectional in nature. Today I was saddened by the death of Tim Russert, political commentator for NBC, MSNBC and Meet The Press. My wife and I are political junkies, she, to be honest, more than me, but we do follow the political process, and Tim Russert seemed to be a kind, honest, civil and steady voice amidst the political fray. That his death happened so suddenly---at age 58---is indeed shocking, and I have been watching his colleagues, like Andrea Mitchell, Howard Fineman and Keith Olberman, reflect on the influence of Russert on their lives and vocations. Russert seemed to be pretty non-partisan, which appealed to me, and he had interests beyond politics, like baseball, which appealed to me as well. He often spoke of his roots in working class America, he did not have the benefit of an elite education, but had made his way, seemingly, through character and disicpline. He is also a testament of how someone can function, as a leader, in an environment that is contentious and filled with ambition, and yet seek the well-being of others and, indeed focus on the common good. And of course, his book about his father, and his death on Father's Day weekend seem to be connected in some poignant way. My only connection with Russert was through electronic media, and so all of this says something about the power of television. Finally, Russert was a devout Catholic, and he taken his son and wife to Rome to meet the Pope, as a kind of pilgrimage after his son's college graduation. Cardinal Foley, speaking about him on MSNBC, said, "Tim was never ashamed of his faith, and was deeply grateful for it, and practiced it regularly". Tim Russert will be missed.


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