Today, two days after father's day, America will lay to rest ones of its favorite sons. The tributes to Timothy J. Russert have shown a heartfelt consistency about how he lived his life. Tim Russert was dedicated to his real and professional families in a manner that should serve as an important reminder about our priorities. He brought passion to his work and his life, and he will be deeply missed.
Russert served as chief encouragement officer to his team and chief explaining officer to the American people. He was dedicated not only to asking the questions average Americans would like to ask their leaders, but more importantly, he cared enough for all of us to listen to their answers. He brought civility and fairness to American political discourse and its voice was heard clearly, even in a world where acrimony and partisanship tried so desperately to drown it out.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said that John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King were men who would have chosen the same lives again despite their shortness of years because of the way they lived and the impact they had. Tim Russert was taken from this earth at only 58, yet his impact on this nation is undeniable. His commitment to those he knew personally and to those he did not was unmistakable.
For me, Meet the Press with Tim Russert has been a Sunday morning routine now for years. I took for granted that he would be there each and every week, where he would ground us, set the tone for the political debate for the following week, only to have to ground us again seven days later.
Lately PR professionals and journalists have been whining about mindless, meaningless issues. We'd all do well to follow the advice found on a sign that was prominently displayed in Russert's office, "Thou shalt not whine." Let us remember the selflessness, passion, and joy with which he lived his life and do our best to live it in our own.