Russert and So Much More

At the risk of being a bleeding heart, I must comment further on the life of Tim Russert. Beside being a magnificent human being (period), he also represented a generation of hope, optimism, good will and love. Perhaps this is why his death continues to hit me very hard, so hard that people do not want to listen to me anymore. So exit this site if you will.

Russert represented the boomer generation in the best way possible. We were a generation full of hope, seeking change, drastic change, change for the betterment of society. These efforts were tempered by a drive for honesty in corporate America, truth in governance and a life attitude of positivism. I am not that naive to hold that we succeeded. But damn, it was a really nice try. Tom Russert was a bridge from that era to the present.

So this is the loss I am feeling all over again with the death of Russert. He was the epitome of living a productive and meaningful life. For those of you who feel the accolades have been way over the line, I disagree with you. Very rarely does a human being like Russert come along who so perfectly blended professional and personal bliss. His humanity transcended any possible divisions you could think of: race, religion, Democrat, Republican, etc. The personal secretary of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whom Russert worked for (he shared an office with this secretary), said today that Russert absolutely deserves all the attention he is getting in his passing. She said that he was far more competent than many Presidents and indeed, earned the grace and kudos coming his way.

After 9/11, I made a donation to the American Red Cross which was totally bastardized and misused. To make a long story short, Dan Rather’s news crew sent some reporters to interview me for the evening news. The bottom-line question they asked me was : “Will you think twice in the future about donating again to an organized charity?’ My response: “No more carte blanche”. And I held firm in that belief—-until today. Today I will donate to Catholic Charities, one of Russert’s favorite charities. I will do this because I trust him in his charitable activities. Imagine —– a nice Jewish girl like me giving to a Catholic charity. What could be better? I will also make another donation to America For Obama because he is our greatest hope for the future.

We lost our power for 24 hours earlier this week after a brief but powerful storm. So (everything from water to electricity was dead at our house) the next morning I went to McDonald’s to use the facilities and get something to eat. When I walked into the store, I was amazed at how many senior citizens were eating there. Over the years, despite the hard knocks McDonald’s has taken over their fast food image, they have became an “institution”. They are a symbol of readily affordable food, and a community eating place. I imagine in a more rural, less urbanized setting than where I live, the community aspect is of the more meaningful.
Imagine if we follow Obama’s plea that Washington needs changing, that things are definitely off-kilter. It will take many years to accomplish, but with dedication to ideals, honesty and a demand for excellence, we can do it. We have to “institutionalize” decency in government. This could take 50 years, but we must make a concerted, long term committment to these goals now. Obama is a good start. This time, unlike the Boomers, let’s not cave to personal , material needs. We need to stick to our ideals.

One last thought: the ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment in life is raising a child. If a parent puts the time and dedication into the child, the rewards are the best thing in the world. Luke Russert, Tim’s 22 year old son, has been magnificent. Admitting that his 22 years of having his father was better than anything else, short but so rewarding, Luke has not only come into his own but also will be a living legacy to his father. There is no better memorial. It is the highest calling to raise a human being to be a benefit to those around him and to society. There is no higher ideal to aspire to or attain. What is better than raising a responsible human being who will contribute to the welfare of the human race and, in turn, raise yet another human being to continue that noble effort?

So read a book to your kid tonight. Donate to Catholic Charities. Donate to Obama For America. Use Tim Russert’s name as a point of generosity. Our institution of caring and accountability starts here and now.

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