I am a man who loves to think, to read, to understand the minds of people.
I love politics and literature.
I value common sense, integrity, logic, and compassion above all else.
On Friday, one of my heroes passed away.
For me, Tim Russert was a god. He was smart, informative, and he just looked like he was having fun every Sunday at that table. He would ask all these brilliant questions, every one of them fair yet exact. Each week he led the interviewee through a straight path to the heart of each matter. If you didn't bring it, you'd end up crawling out the door. The man thrived on the logic and common sense behind the decisions and words of others. He held people accountable while at the same time managing to keep his child-like sense of awe and wonder about the whole process.
You've probably already read or seen (or will read or see at some point) statements from the people who knew him best: politicians, political strategists, journalists, authors, etc. You'll get the sense that the man was and continues to be bigger than life.
It's easy enough to hear that from people who knew him personally and think to yourself, "I assume that the people who know me would say the same things about me when I die". It strikes home when the passing of a man I'd never met can hit me like it does right now.
Tim Russert is the kind of man I want to be. He's a family man, a brilliant man, a no-nonsense man. He was guided by his mind and his heart; it was as plain as day just watching him once a week on television. There's almost a sense that something is amiss with the world; we need more people like Tim Russert and instead he was taken away from us.
In a small way, I almost feel as if politics will never be accountable in the same way it's been for the 17 years Tim sat in that chair. Who else uses common sense so brilliantly in his or her queries to keep politicians honest? In a world where political journalism and discourse have become shouting and pissing matches between the loudest and most extreme political parrots among us, who will take the torch and ask the questions that the average American needs to have answered but doesn't have the means to do so? Who will take these people to task and force them to answer the tough questions with straightforward, thoughtful, and character-defining answers that shape the weekly news cycle and the political landscape as a whole?
It's painful to think about it now. I'm not sure I'll be able to fill the little piece of me that Tim Russert and Meet the Press occupied. It feels like the fire that had always been fueled by my intellectual curiosity and for the world of politics has been dimmed just a little by his passing.
Tim Russert was a giant among men. I will miss him very much.
"To whom much is given, much is expected." - Luke 12:48
RIP Mr. Russert