Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Sense of Decency

I've both agreed and disagreed with Leonard Pitts before, but even when we disagree I find him to be an honorable and decent man. I cannot help but agree with the sentiments expressed in this column, and hope others take it to heart:

When the news broke a few days ago that Novak had a brain tumor and would retire, I was not made prostrate by grief. What I felt was that whisper of common mortality, that sense of there-but-for-the-grace-of-God one usually feels when tragedy strikes someone who is known to you, but not too closely. I felt sorry for the man and for his loved ones. It did not occur to me to celebrate their misfortune.

In this, I am evidently different from a number of observers who have infested Internet websites with exultation over the columnist's diagnosis...

The intention, I imagine, is to debase those with whom one has political disagreements. The authors of this sort of abuse evidently don't realize that what they really debase is themselves -- and political discourse as a whole.

Yes, it is fair, even now, to offer a harsh critique of Novak's politics. But there is something fundamentally indecent about celebrating his grave illness. Osama bin Laden, I might understand; he's a mortal enemy. Robert Novak is just a columnist with whom some of us disagree...

That's the mentality you're seeing here -- politics as war -- and it is not pretty. The thing is, there are truths above politics and one of them is that you do not laugh at the other guy's tragedy. How estranged are you from your own humanity, how deficient was your home training, when you need to be reminded of that?


Amen.

3 comments:

Ms. Mize said...

Thanks for sharing this! I agree. It is abhorrent how some things are valued over life.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I am also not a fan of Pitts. But he is fundamentally decent in his opinions. Too bad most of his fellow travelers are not.

Joanne Jacobs said...

Pitts is an excellent writer and a stand-up guy. He's said this very well.