Thank You, Cokie

She passed on Tuesday at the age of 75.

Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs.

The story goes that her older, 3 year old brother couldn’t pronounce “Corinne” when she came home from the hospital, he called her Cokie, and that was that.

She had a keen, life-long deep understanding of politics, especially here in the United States.  She grew up in politics — her father, then her mother both held seats in the US House of Representatives from Louisiana — and chose the path of chronicling the many stories around public affairs rather than governance.

Not only did she choose a life in the “fourth branch”, but her voice and balanced, thorough analysis of issues — and broad public appeal therein — guided her to become one of the “Founding Mothers” of National Public Radio, and more broadly, one of the women in leadership roles in public journalism.

She was so good on NPR that commercial leader ABC hired her as well. She reported from both outlets for more than three decades.

Her voice remained steadfast and consistent in our public discourse, and even in recent years as she had begun to step back, I always felt a certain calm and certainty of what was true when I heard her speak on whatever the topic of the day was.

I was shocked when I heard the news of her passing on Tuesday morning while driving to work.  On the commute home at the end of the day, I was fortunate to hear on another public radio station, Classical KDFC, the afternoon DJ Robin Pressman pay tribute to Roberts with a dedication of the first 5:00pm Commute Song (what KDFC calls “The Island of Sanity”), Felix Mendelssohn’s “On Wings of a Song 34 #2”.

Cool to hear that peaceful, uplifting music anytime, especially as nod to one of the great voices of our time.  Thanks for your insights and wisdom and positive effect on our national conversation, Cokie.  

Would that we can honor you as Rachel Martin suggested on Up First today, when she closed with what was perhaps your simple credo for living:  “Do the work. Be fair. Be kind. And lift each other up.”   

AMEN.

More on Cokie Roberts found here.

More on Cokie Roberts as one of the Founding Mothers found here.

 

 

We The People…

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

America.

A troika of good came together last evening that I’ve just got to share.

I was in between the end-of-workday and an evening meeting.  I had enough time for a couple tacos, then a stop at a local watering hole; might call it a dive bar. there were about twenty people living life when I walked in.

Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away, the Democratic National Convention is happening.  The politicians are talking. The media’s trying to tell the story. The Big Fight is coming which will determine who lives in the White House for the next four years.

I sit on my bar stool and think, “I love America.”

There’s a ton of global shit going down — economic struggles, ISIS, poverty, murderous conflicts, climate change, suffering, hunger, human migration, etc. — yet these peeps around me in this bar are just trying to get by. Take a bit of time and enjoy a little.  You know, live.  Which we all have to do.

Of course this “living” is going down in everywhere around the world, in hundreds of languages and settings, all the time.  People trying to enjoy life a little, be happy, have a laugh, a drink, a smoke, a lay. EVERYWHERE.

But somehow it feels like here in America, we have a little better chance. Maybe it’s the plenty, the roads, the systems, the weather, the safety, the reliable utilities.

Whatever you say it is, I say it’s freedom, and cold beer, and opportunity, and a basic good. And I’m damn lucky to be here.  And I’m grateful.

So I finished my drink, and headed off to my evening meeting, a regular gathering of old friends.  That rounded out my troika:  tasty tacos, a little reflection time over a beer in a cool place, and then connecting with friends.  One, Two, Three.  GOOD.

Like America.