Ben Johnson

Heartfelt Condolences to Teresa Heinz Kerry, Fighting Breast Cancer

Posted on December 23 2009 11:45 pm
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Fighting the good fight.

Fighting the good fight.

I’m the author of two books on Teresa Heinz. The first, 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Radical Philanthropy, came out weeks before the 2004 election. The second, Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Radical Gifts, came out four years later. In tandem, they document how she used tax-exempt grants t0 underwrite the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the Tides Foundation, environmental extremists, and a film festival that glorified same-sex teacher-student pedophilia. Together, they run several hundred pages.

Teresa, who is notoriously harsh toward her critics, probably never thought a positive thought about me.

When I read of her diagnosis with breast cancer yesterday morning, my heart broke.

For too long, it’s been assumed ideological differences rend any ties of compassion. The politics of polarization have the incensed calling for one another’s blood. If they drive us to deny the good aspects of others, or wish them ill, it is proof we have poisoned our own souls.

According to the Huffington Post story, Teresa’s cancer was “discovered through mammography and argues that younger women should continue undergoing the tests despite a federal panel’s recent recommendation to reduce their frequency.” No, this will not be a jeremiad against health care rationing — it is a commendation for Teresa Heinz providing good and responsible advice in the wake of a devastating circumstance. It is to be hoped she will also provide a good example, when she overcomes cancer.

As head of a large, well-funded endowment, she is uniquely situated to offer more than advice. Channeling more of the tremendous resources at her disposal toward hospital care, medical equipment, and clinical research could make an immeasurable difference for the thousands of women who may face her affliction. And, according to her Catholic faith, these corporal acts of mercy would do much to commend her soul to God.

I have long been critical of anyone who pines for the deaths of his political opponents. There comes a time when transitory political divisions are subsumed by our common humanity. This is one of them. May God be with her in her fight.

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