I wonder. Is it rational to miss someone you never knew?
I am a recovering news junkie. I have always been absorbed in watching history take shape. As an eleven year old I spent the summer playing Democratic National Convention; I was Shirley Chisholm. The next summer I was glued to the television watching the Watergate hearings.
My fascination with the news continued into my adulthood, but I have been clean now for over a year. Like the junkie's tainted street drugs, the stuff they've been pushing on cable is extremely dangerous because you don't really know what you're getting.
Pundits. Spin. That stuff isn't news. It is one powerhouse or another telling you what you need to hear to believe what they want you to believe. I have my own mind, I don't need anyone to interpret the news for me.
I also don't need the anger that kind of partisan spewing creates. None of us do. So, I turned it off.
That doesn't mean that I don't read and listen to enough evening news to stay current. And my U.S. Representative would tell you it certainly doesn't keep me from calling and writing her on a regular basis.
It also doesn't mean I don't miss it. Not the staged hysterics, that I can live without. I mean solid news. News that allowed you to hear and decide for yourself.
I miss Tim Russert. I know I didn't know the man, but I do miss him. I miss how he grew up in a hardworking family and made good on his own merit. I miss how he loved his dad and he loved to be a dad. I miss how he loved God and America and he didn't use those two facts to browbeat anyone. I miss his voice on Sunday mornings while I was getting ready for church. His voice of civility and curiosity. His voice of reason.
And so this morning I checked out one of his audiobooks from the library. I will drive on my daily rounds over the course of the next week with Tim's soothing voice reminding me of what is good and decent in working hard and loving family and country.
It will remind me of why I grew up watching the nightly news. It will calm and reassure me. It will help me remember that cable news is an oxymoron and that I can think for myself.
Thanks, Tim. R.I.P.
Originally written in 2011, but just as true (or maybe more true) today.