Theodore Sorensen, JFK’s speechwriter and alter ego, observed yesterday: “Only the Adams family in the earliest days of the republic had the kind of stature, respect and impact on public life as the Kennedys.” And not only that – in an age of celebrification, the Kennedys became the country’s leading political celebrities.
That combination probably explains the sharp intake of breath heard yesterday all over Washington and across the country when people learned the news about Kennedy’s illness.
Rod Dreher of the Crunchy Conservative blog asked his readers to pray for Kennedy yesterday. As with many partisans, his readers seem to suffer from a lack of charity. Dreher felt forced to respond in a defensive tone:
UPDATE.2: You would have thought that asking for prayers for a man diagnosed with brain cancer would be a simple enough request. Check out the comments thread, though. Man. I was just talking with a colleague here, who reminded me that when Ronald Reagan died, we had lots of people writing in to say they’d be happy to dance on his grave.
UPDATE.3: Perhaps this will be a more edifying thread all the way around if we use it to discuss the proper way to pray for people we consider to be our enemies, or at least consider to be immoral and harmful to the common good. Because sooner or later, we’ll all be in the position of being asked to pray for a politician we may despise. I have no doubt that if George W. Bush had been diagnosed with brain cancer, we’d have just as many people on the thread below saying they’re not going to pray for the likes of him. How does one pray for the welfare we dislike, despise or disrespect?
Just reading Dreher’s response makes me feel ill.