Saturday, March 26, 2011

I'm losing my second-favorite Bob

Bob Herbert's op-ed columns in The New York Times have very often been beacons of light in the darkness. His writing is always characterized by clear thinking, by ideas stated simply and understandably, by an elegance of writing that I can only admire and never hope to emulate. Sadly for his readers, in his latest - and last - column, he announced that he is leaving The Times. His absence will leave a void in public discourse that will be hard to fill.

Herbert's last column is titled "Losing Our Way" and it is all about how America of the 21st century is a place where "Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home."

Goodness knows this nation of failing infrastructures, growing poverty, and millions of people who are unable to get even basic medical care, needs building. But where is the leadership to do that? And where are the journalists who will point out that such leadership is needed? Who will take on Bob Herbert's mantle? I'm very much afraid the answer is no one.

As Herbert wrote in this last column:

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.


I'm not sure what it will take for us to find our way again or even if we can, but I think it will be harder without my second-favorite Bob there shining the light of his intelligence for us.

*****

And who is my favorite Bob? Well, that would be my husband, whose birthday is today. Happy birthday, Light of My Life!

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