Since learning of the death of the justifiably beloved Tony Snow on Saturday morning, I have watched with sadness, appreciation, horror and outright rage some of the obituaries, commentary and blog posts concerning the late Mr. Snow.
Because I respect and admire the late Mr. Snow’s graciousness and lack of rancor, I am going to attempt to refrain from responding in kind to the likes of the Associated Press “hit job”, the L.A. Times’ ghastly comments (and we saw only the ones the moderator let through), the vile trash talk on the Huffington Post (which Ariana Huffington finally had the [minimal] class to remove entirely) – none of it was even remotely appropriate and it has generated some responses in kind on Fox News. I suspect Tony Snow would not have wanted that. In fact, I very much suspect he would have laughed off the nastiness abounding, except for any hurt being done to his family. Nor would he have totally approved of the rancor being displayed by Bill O’Reilly – no model of temperate journalism these days!
I’ve said this before but it bears repetition. I was originally trained as a journalist in the very early 60s at The Ohio State University which, then and now, has a well regarded j-school. Then and now, Columbus, Ohio was possessed of a daily newspaper which, while slightly above the level of “yellow” journalism, did not and still does not (my opinion) produce the most high quality product a lot of the time, hence its nickname at OSU of The Columbus “Disgust”. I say this with sorrow, not anger. However, these days, in comparison to the AP, the L.A. Times and the comments found (before their deletion) at the Huffington Post, the Columbus Dispatch stands as a model of journalistic excellence and restraint. The Dispatch has improved some, the others mentioned have deteriorated greatly.
How did we come to this? When did someone decide that the messenger was more important than the message? When did the point of view of the messenger become more important than the facts or fair play? When did someone decide that anyone who doesn’t agree with ONE'S OWN point of view is inherently evil? When did we lose our national sense of humor – a quality which once distinguished this nation in a very favorable way from many others, particularly those of the totalitarian persuasion. When did we lose our joy?
We walk this earth only a short space of time. As a Catholic, I know for sure there is another act in this life of ours and with all my soul I know that Tony Snow is beginning to enjoy his well-earned rest. For his widow and his children, there can only be the deepest sense of loss. This was a man who was so present in every moment of his life, the vacancy created in their lives with his death must be almost impossible to endure. So I ask that we all pray for their healing and strength, for his soul’s peaceful transition and that we examine our own hearts to excise any bitterness, animosity and anger that may have lodged there before going forth in our own lives with some of the integrity, ethics, humor and joy of our departed example of how to live: the late and much lamented Tony Snow.
I know I will remain "cranky" - that's a function of my advancing age and my genetic predisposition. But I am going to make every effort to maintain a positive demeanor on this blog, although as this election cycle wears on, I may find it necessary to at least resort to stringency at the very least!