I was all set to post something about Father's Day, and I might still do that. But I just found out that Tim Russert died today of an apparent heart attack.
I know we're going to hear a great deal about his contributions to the field of journalism, but the thing that I'll remember about Russert is that he wrote about fatherhood, both his life with his own dad and his relationship with his son, in a way that opened the door for other writers like myself who had something to say about being a father and a son, and what we're all trying to do in that role.
According to MSNBC:
Russert was a trustee of the Freedom Forum’s Newseum and a member of the board of directors of the Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club, and America’s Promise — Alliance for Youth.
In 1995, the National Father’s Day Committee named him “Father of the Year,” Parents magazine honored him as “Dream Dad” in 1998, and in 2001 the National Fatherhood Initiative also recognized him as Father of the Year.
Fathers have been pretty consistently marginalized in our societal narrative, but I think that is beginning to change, albeit slowly. Tim Russert was an agent of that change, although I suspect that all he really set out to do was write a love letter to his father (a personal mission I understand perfectly), and to give others a place to do the same. I truly regret the fact that I'll never have the opportunity to meet him, and to say thank you.