Remembering Elizabeth Edwards

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards lost her battle with cancer last week. I was saddened to hear it, because if any woman in the news personified grace under pressure, it was her. Even after the public outing of her husband’s affair she remained a steadfast supporter of her family and, more importantly, continued to support issues she was passionate about. She did not become a postscript to her husband’s failed political aspirations. I admired her for that.

Her funeral was held and most of the media was well behaved so far as I can tell. There was some play about the Westboro Baptist Church protesting outside the church. Their reason? Elizabeth Edwards did not oppose gay marriage.

The Westboro whackos believe that America is being punished by their god for supporting gay rights. They believe, in fact, that our troops are being killed because of this. Not because they are in a war zone, because they are representing an America their god does not like any longer. They are known for attending the funerals of war veterans carrying signs that read “God hates fags”.

If I believed in a God, I believe he or she would most certainly be pretty pissed off about the activities of the Westboro whackos. The fact they are happily moving from state to state, trying to spread a message of hate, is all the proof I need that their god doesn’t stand for anything I’m interested in.

A lot of people are understandably upset by their protests. Locals at the Elizabeth Edwards funeral created a human barrier between the protesters and the grieving family, singing Christmas carols to drown out their voice. The Westboro whackos are really not worth acknowledging more than that. Most reasonable people recognize hate when they see it.

Reading about all this reminded me of the wonderful closing speech in the movie “The American President”. In that speech, Michael Douglas is taking a shot at a political opponent who could easily be our modern day Jim DeMint…or Mike Huckabee. His speech outlines why people like the Westboro whackos get to show up at funerals of people they don’t know and don’t understand.
In the movie the President says: "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.”

Elizabeth Edwards would have understood that. Had she been present, I think she may well have marched right out there and given them a piece of her mind. She probably would have done it with more dignity and class than any of them exhibited. That is what makes her worth remembering.


  1. What a beautiful sentiment, Diane. You are absolutely right.

  2. Wonderful words - and I look forward to reading more of the same in time.

  3. Very well said. Excellent post.


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