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Elizabeth Edwards RIP

I just found out from writerspleasure 's blog that Elizabeth Edwards has died.

I'm not going to pretend I was a huge fan  while she was alive. A few times she said things that pissed me off...although I can't remember what they are now. 

But that's politics, and this is a time to put such ultimately inconsequential things aside. She fought a brave fight. She had to deal simultaneously with  cancer and an unfaithful spouse, all under the scrutiny of the national media. I have no idea how I would have handled a combination of problems like that...probably nowhere near as well.

As I said, I was not a big fan while she was alive. But she did one extremely classy thing that impressed me mightily at the time.It still impresses me when I think about it, and is the main reason I am making this entry.

Edwards was a regular at Democratic Underground. When Laura Ingraham got breast cancer, there was a thread there about her that included some really hateful and inappropriate remarks. Elizabeth Edwards stepped in with the following words:

I have been a Democrat for a long time, and part of the Democratic principles that attracted me as a young person and kept me a Democrat all these years is our compassion. Democrats are simply good and decent people. And good and decent people want everyone to do well -- those who agree with them and those who do not. We fight for the right of voices with which we disagree to speak out, for the right of people to say things we don't believe to be true, even for the right to be malicious and mean-spirited. If we fight for the right for LI to say what she says, how in the world can we use our disagreement with those words as an excuse not to be compassionate in her fight with cancer. Being willing to have her voice muted by illness is the same thing as not wanting her voice to be heard. It is not Democratic or democratic.

I hope others will join me in wishing her Godspeed in this fight, for the easiest road that she can have, and even for the development of compassion about others who have faced hardship and disease without the support network she -- and I -- have. As I go through treatment for this same disease, I think often about the women who fight breast cancer without health insurance, without a supportive husband, with a physically demanding job that doesn't know or doesn't care that she is exhausted and weak and aching, with children but no child care. I find it absolutely impossible that LI won't also have those thoughts run through her head or that she won't rethink her position on health care or the social safety net. Pray for her health AND her enlightenment, if you must. But pray, with me, for her good health.

At this moment, she was a shining example of class at time when it was desperately needed.

Rest in peace, Ms. Edwards, and thank you.