No! No! No! To all the mean-spirited people like Rush Limbaugh and ilk who basically said Elizabeth Edwards should shut up and die...that the Edwards are blatantly making political hay out of her illness...and that the Edwards campaign should likewise, shut up and die.
The same "fie on you" goes to Bill O'Reilly, who in a recent column, deemed it fit to shed crocodile tears for his "dear friend" Tony Snow in the blink of one eye, then turn Snow's cancer into a politican attack on the left with the blink of his other jaundiced eye.
To do what Limbaugh and others have suggested would be giving in to all the rightwing banshee-screamers and to the disease itself.
One of the first people I met when I moved to the San Fernando Valley many years ago, was Marlene Heim. She was diagnonsed with cancer of the 'everything,' told to go home, get her affairs in order and wait to die.
Unlike Elizabeth Edwards, who is a public person, Marlene was a very private person, just as most of us are who are assigned the same fate. Marlene did go home and get her affairs in order, but she didn't sit around and wait to die, nor did she confine herself to bed and have her family hover over her, wringing their hands and watching her die cell by cell.
Just as Elizabeth Edwards, along with her husband and family decided to go on "living" with every fiber of her body for as long as she has, so did Marlene before the fateful day the took her away from family and friends.
Marlene continued to work for as long as she could, spreading her own brand of optimism and good humor among the elderly confined to convalescent hospitals, and her work with Women's American ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training), to which she had devoted many years of fund-raising efforts.
My friend Marlene also had the opportunity to do what those of us who are taken away suddenly don't have the chance to do: Say their good-byes, tell loved ones how much they're loved, because they didn't say it often enough when they thought they'd live for ever, and get their affairs is order as to not leave the mess for others to clean up after them when they're gone.
Marlene left a lot of good in her wake, and she will be remembered and loved by that good as long as there are people around to do the remembering.
So it is true of Elizabeth. It's solely her decision on how to spend the time she has left. It's not for the likes of Limbaugh, who's making his own political hay out of her personal tragedy.
Sure there's a lot of people -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- who would like to see John Edwards drop out of the presidental race, and see Elizabeth confine herself to her sickbed.
For them to suggest that would be synonomous with telling Senators John McCain, Arlen Spector and John Kerry to do the same. If that's the case, then White House Spokesman Tony Snow should hand over his duties, temporarily, to someone else; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani should quit his race; Colin Powell should have quit as Secretary of State, just as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor should have stepped away from the Supreme Court.
Likewise, if Robert DeNiro, Edie Falco, Lynn Redgrave, Suzanne Sommers, Jaclyn Smith, Rue McClanahan and a host of others had given up and taken to their sickbeds, we would have been deprived of many hours of entertainment.
One has to wonder if the harsh critics on the right think Edwards should have dropped out, if the same logic should apply to the Republicans who have had cancer. Or as they see it, only Democrates facing this very personal, very family matter need apply.
Applying the same convoluted logic, if certain people think John Edwards should throw in the towel, then the husbands and wives of any cancer suffered should also give up their jobs or pursuits to be come hovers over their sick loved ones.
Perhaps they should apply this same logic to anyone who with serious health problems, such as heart or kidney disease. Then we can have half the country in bed waiting to die, while the other half flutters around them and beating their chests in grief instead of working.
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