Tony Snow, former Press Secretary for President George Bush, died early Saturday morning, July 12, 2008. The news came as a shock to me, even though I knew he was battling cancer. At age 53, with a wife and two children, he was too young to die. He had so much to live for.
A few weeks ago, Tim Russert suffered a fatal heart attack. Another man in his 50’s who had so much left to offer the world.
When I watched the tribute on Fox News for Tony Snow. Friends and colleagues talked about him as a new reporter and as a friend. I learned he was an accomplished musician. He’d had a radio show before he pioneered a news program on the debuting Fox News Channel. I regretted not having seen his early shows.
In church that morning, our pastor talked about how we can never know the influence we might have on others. Mike Wallace mentioned that thousands of condolence emails the network had received.
I thought of how much influence both men had on our culture. Both men loved America, valued the truth, and weren’t afraid to ask the hard question, but did it with respect. In an age where ratings and personal agendas seem to be more important than courtesy and truth, they had the courage to reach for higher standard.
I was sad when I watched the tributes to Tim Russert. I wept when Mike Wallace closed the show with a clip Tony Snow did on a Father’s Day segment by closing with the statement that coming home at night to have his three children run to him calling out “Daddy” was the best thing of all. Daddy was the name he wanted to be known by.
As I wiped my tears, I thought had the age of television ushered in our ability to care about people we’ll never know personally. We can rejoice with successes of people we’ll never meet, we can share the sorrow of people around the world. We witness first hand the grief of a parent, the destruction of a city, the terror of 9-11.
We’ve become a worldwide community. I rejoice in the shared joy, but could do without the shared sorrow.