A Very Nice Lady Named Elizabeth

25 Mar

Earlier this week I had dinner with my friend Natasha and we discovered we are both political junkies. And that we both had some secret hopes for John Edwards. Bright, charismatic, skilled at campaigning with significant national campaign experience, Edwards has the ability to look like a centrist and act like a liberal. He’s displayed, in my opinion, fiscally conservative sound judgment — and if that doesn’t tell you that I’d love to be a liberal Republican but hate the party as it stands with a passion then nothing will.

The news that Elizabeth Edwards has had a recurrence of the cancer she beat less than five years ago is of course devastating to anyone who wants to believe that once you kick cancer, it stays kicked. Cancer has its own plans, and strength of will/body has no effect on it. Witness Elizabeth Edwards who clearly has both kids of fortitude.

“I expect to do next week all the things I did last week. And the week after that, and next year at the same time,” she said.

I don’t think that attitude or intelligence have any impact on survival.  We probably all know smart people who have died from cancer and stupid people who have survived.  I think the point of her attitude and her strength isn’t that it will change the length of her life but that it could improve her quality of life.  We all live with a timer, some of us know our life expectancy and some of us don’t.  What I find most heartening about Elizabeth Edwards is that she doesn’t appear to be chipper and optimistic because she thinks it will help her live longer, but because that is who she is, and she has bigger fish to fry.  Namely getting her husband the job he might well deserve.

Who knows if this will help or hurt John Edwards.  I can imagine that it will be something of a temptation to his opponents, the way Obama’s race and Clinton’s gender seem to beg for some sort of comment to those who have no intention of fighting fair.

I hope we can separate the maudlin from the practical and let John Edwards run a good race.  Because I think that is the most respectful thing we can do for a very nice lady named Elizabeth.

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