MOURNING TWO WOMEN
Noting the passing of two women over the weekend surprisingly stirred a personal sense of loss and a low rage.
The end of Margaret Thatcher's long decline into dementia is a merciful release and an occasion to recall her greatness in full power. I met the Iron Lady and heard her address an American audience. I didn't agree with all of her politics, but I admired her ability to lead, wield power and was in awe of her use of language. It was not just her English cadence and pronunciation, it was the eloquence, even the elegance of her word choices and sentence construction. She was an extraordinarily capable person.
Though Meryl Streep's performance was brilliant, I resented the Iron Lady film because its focus on Thatcher's declining years was inappropriate, disrespectful and needless.
As a father of daughters I have a special fondness for women of her calibre.
And perhaps because Ann Smedinghoff is the age of my youngest, I was especially grieved to learn of the death of the US Foreign Service worker in Afghanistan. She, and other Americans, were killed by terrorists as they delivered textbooks to children. Her father says the family takes comfort in knowing she was doing something she wanted to do.
I know, hired and worked with young women and men like Ann Smedinghoff. Products of good homes, education and sound footing, they choose to work in areas where they could "make a difference" or "provide service." There are more lucrative and less arduous paths, but some in that generation seek a more active participation in doing something good and meaningful. She and her colleagues died trying to elevate the third century mentality of that cursed land of war lords, tribes, corruption, and ignorance.
The Taliban are blamed. They are the jackal thugs of an evil strain of death breeding zealots who are ignorant cowards that even their own demented version of their god would surely wish to smite and send to an endless lake of fire. The deaths of the Americans, only the latest chapter as the Taliban once again seeks to destroy reason and leverage the stone age on Afghanistan.
Two women, one who fulfilled a life of contribution, the other, at the beginning of her service to humankind, taken tragically. It's just been hard to shake this sense of loss.
See you down the trail.