Tim Russert an inspiration
A week ago today, Timothy J. Russert died suddenly. He was head of the NBC Washington Bureau, moderator of “Meet the Press,” and one of the most respected and admired journalists in today’s world.
He was respected, revered and loved by people from every walk of life—from those interviewed to those watching the interviews. Thinking people watched his interviews because it was his goal to maintain an unbiased opinion, to subject the interviewee to a rigorous examination of his/her position, to be fair, and to leave the viewer with information to form an enlightened opinion.
I have followed Tim’s career for years. I have respected his approach to journalism; I have admired his intellect and preparation; I have celebrated his authenticity; I have loved his enthusiasm for life and politics; I have mourned his all too short life.
He embodied the qualities we need in this country, especially in this critical election year:
• an open-minded attitude
• a non-judgmental spirit
• a sense of humor
• a willingness to treat ideas, rather than parties
• an insight as to what this country needs to come together and address complex problems
• the ability to communicate with all walks of life
• a careful listener
It is my prayer that Tim did not die in vain. It is my hope that the spirit he embodied will not only be reflected in our journalists, but that all of us might come to emulate some of his qualities as we prepare for this important election and address multiple challenges.
Harriet L. Uphoff
‘Maverick’ making the rounds
I loved seeing the young deer on the front page with Ellen Lange. The young buck is getting around everywhere. I find it so strange that he’s always alone. I’m including pictures on my patio with one of his visits to my home. I’ve given him a name because he is alone and does everything that one never expects. To me, he is, “Maverick”. Should you decide on one of the pictures, please feel free to do so as I’m sure the whole of this area of Oakwood has seen him at one time or another. He is an amazing young deer & think he must have had human contact at some time.
Coolidge Drive, Oakwood
Valid points made by Uphoff
Normally, I would not dignify a disgusting ad hominem attack such as the one leveled by John Jaeger (MBA) against Dr. James Uphoff, a distinguished citizen of Oakwood who has done more for this community in one day than Mr. Jaeger has done for it in his lifetime, but I could not allow such drivel to go unanswered.
Firstly, I have never personally met Dr. Uphoff and would not know him if he walked past me. So it is not as though he and I are old buddies. Secondly, Dr. Uphoff makes some valid points in his “Support our Troops” letter to the Register (pay attention Mr. Jaeger, you just might learn something). Dr. Uphoff states the troops were poorly trained and they were in one respect, i.e. nobody in the entire chain of command anticipated a protracted insurgency, expecting instead that we would grected as liberators. Another claim was that the equipment was poorly designed and in at least two instances that was indeed a correct statement, i.e. the body armor was late arriving and the early Humvees were not properly armed. Dr. Uphoff’s claims that service hospitals were in bad condition and home bases were problematic are at least partially true. Examples such as Walter Reed Hospital and the dismal conditions of some of our stateside military facili ties are well documented.
Finally, Mr. Jaeger, remember this: blindly following bad leadership is not patriotism; it is stupidity. One can and should criticize policy mistakes but still wish our troops well and support them with our prayers. I can speak with experience on at least some of these matters since I too am a Vietnam veteran having served there in 1970. Also, I am not a Bush-hater which is the label you right-wingers use on people who dare to criticize current policy. George Bush is a fundamentally good, decent man who has been terribly ill served by his vice president and first secretary of defense. If only he had followed the wise counsel of Colin Powell we would probably be in much better shape.
Examining all facts equals patriotism
My column (5-27-08) “Support our troops: teaching patriotism” has drawn much interest and MUCH misinterpretation, even some outright denial of basic facts. Schools strive to help students learn to search out and examine with care all facts on any issue PRIOR to making firm conclusions. I am an adult life-long registered Republican, but I am also dedicated to learning all I can about significant issues. To do this for example, I watch a variety of TV sources including FOX and listen to a variety of radio including Rush as well as CNN, NPR, etc. This value of such seeking of diverse perspectives was not evident in several of letters sent to the OR.
I originally argued that our government’s Supporting Our Troops would involve a series of essential actions and appropriate citizen actions when/where needed. The Harris letter (6-3-08) claimed that I saw the Iraq glass as half-empty vs. their view that it was half-full. I will accept their half-full glass but respond that the facts show that over the years of this Iraq war, the glass has developed some serious cracks
which have caused some their “fullness” to disappear.
Ted Reinhart of Washington state (6-10-08) objected to my “bully pulpit” and stated that the war “was totally just in every sense.” He must also be upset with Sen. McCain who had strong objections to the conduct of the war in its first several years. Jaeger of California (6-17-08) began with an attack on all educators and wondered why any of these” less able folks” should have any opinions about such vital topics as Support Our Troops that his fellow MBAs seem to be able to study so well.
He claims our troops were the best trained and supplied in the world including with body armor. Some of the facts that I saw in the early years had local families and communities holding all types of fund drives to buy the newest and best body armor for their local reserve and guard units who were sometimes supplied with no or inadequate body armor. (A crack in the glass!) He also challenged my ‘fact’ that poor equipment was provided our troops. One transportation unit from the Columbus area had their own trucks and vehicles sent with them to Iraq. Problem: that equipment was so old that it was not used much on main highways of Ohio, let alone in Iraq.
Then when the trucks broke down, the super troops who were strongly dedicated to completing their missions took spare parts from ABANDONED U.S. vehicles to fix
their own trucks. Then the government filed Courts Marshall charges against the troops for misuse of government property. Perhaps this news story did not make it to WA or CA so the writers could not see another big crack in the glass.
The morale of troops is essential if they are to be able to do their best. This means that the care of and for their families is important. When the President issued his budget in ‘03 just before he started the war, it totally removed all federal tax support for the children of military personnel who lived on base property but were educated by such school districts as Fairborn and Mad River Local. This story may not have made the press in CA and WA but it left troops wondering about their own children. (Oops—another crack!)
On the topic of health and emotional support and care—need I even mention the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center or the barracks at Ft. Bragg that greeting returning troops with sewage flowing all over the buildings? The 6-18-08 issue of The Dayton Daily News had a major story about injured troops “risking ruin while waiting for their benefit checks to arrive” and having to wait months for treatment for their war wounds. Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio 3) had to fight to force local courts around the nation to stop taking the children of troops on duty away from them. (One crack in the glass still there, but second was “fixed” thanks to a Republican.)
Finally, the dramatically increased suicide rate of our troops, among both those still on duty and those who have returned home and the dramatic increase in the divorces of our troops have been well documented. Even FOX and Rush know about these problems, they just seem to ignore these additional cracks.
Teaching our students how to be patriotic means that they must learn how to seek out a variety of perspectives, how to recognize propaganda and miscommunication from any source, and how to arrive at their own conclusions—not the teachers, not their parents, not mine –just using their own logic and rational thought processes. When they do this they will then be true Supporters of Our Troops and solid citizens as well! Such critical thinking has been an academic goal of our Oakwood educators for years!