Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Contrast In Styles

Jack Balkin, writing at the semi-eponymous Balkinization, recalling a recent trip to the Truman Presidential Library in Missouri:

One of the most moving pieces in the library was also one of the smallest. It was a Purple Heart awarded to a serviceman who had been killed in Korea. The soldier's parents blamed Truman for their son's death; they sent him back the medal with a note, saying in effect: he can have no use for this medal because he is dead due to your policies, so we are sending it back to you. The medal, and the note, were discovered in Truman's desk at the library after he died. Apparently he had kept it close to him all those years as a reminder of the human cost of the decisions he had made.

It is an act that I would commend to all Presidents, past, present, and future.
That's one way a President could handle the matter.

Another would be something like leaving a grieving mother whose son died in combat, like Cindy Sheehan, at the end of your driveway as you take a historically long vacation from the White House, while the same conflict that took her son's life rages on. You could leave her exposed to the cruel attacks of your surrogates rather than have the courage and grace to engage her head on.

You know, either or.

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