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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,179

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The Loved and the Lost: A Note to the Biden Family

Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, then attorney general of Delaware, addresses the Democratic National
Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012. Biden, the eldest son of Vice President
Joseph R. Biden Jr., died of brain cancer, his father announced on Saturday, May 30, 2015.
(Photo: Todd Heisler / The New York Times)

The Loved and the Lost: A Note to the Biden Family
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Monday 01 June 2015

Like an old Irish blessing, the rain is falling softly upon the field that is my back yard. It is, along with the forest beyond, a verdant riot of green, so lush that it seems it would paint your hand if you brushed it. The flowers have come back, as have the birds, all blues and yellows and reds and song. The garden is bursting. After the grinding astonishment of white and cold that was winter, this detonation of life is like a long embrace from an old, dear friend.

As I write this, my daughter sleeps in her room. The soft susurration of the rain is God's own lullaby, and by God, it works. All of her tumbling two-year-old energy melts away like butter in a saucepan when that sound drifts through her springtime-open window, and she sleeps the sleep of the righteous. When I checked on her a bit ago, she was curled on her side, head on her pillow, her Pooh Bear clutched close in a deep embrace, with her ever-growing strawberry-blonde hair cascading across an untroubled brow.

To say that I love her is to say the rain outside is wet. That is simply too simple. I adore her in the Latin sense of the word, "adorare." I worship her. She is my lodestar, the axis of my universe. She is my heart. I am because she is. Before she was born, I was very quietly terrified of my impending fatherhood, terrified of the caliber of my unknown abilities as a father. After she arrived, I discovered to my delight that I was actually good at it, and she has become my best friend. When I walk through her playroom to my office, she asks, "Daddy work?" I reply, "Yes," she runs to join me yelling "Yay!" and climbs into my lap, and we write together while listening to "The Last Waltz," her current favorite.

She is my heart, my very heart, and if I lost her I would be obliterated utterly ... and so my mind and my soul are bent today toward the hearts of Vice President Joe Biden and his family. Mr. Biden is required now to bury a beloved son after already having buried his wife Neilia and his one-year-old daughter Naomi, who were killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer truck just before Christmas in 1972. No parent should have to bury a child. Mr. Biden has lost two - one who never had a chance to grow up, and another in the full flower of his life - along with his wife. It is like some nightmare koan: the mind reels, and stops, and all is only sorrow in aftermath.

It is an old story all too often repeated: the children of the powerful wind up being terrible people. Beau Biden, who succumbed to brain cancer on Saturday at age 46, was a notable and underscored exception to that rule. He served as state Attorney General of Delaware, served in the Delaware Army National Guard's Judge Advocate General Corps, and did a tour in Iraq. In 2008, he introduced his father to the convention in a speech that knocked paint off the walls. He was widely considered to be the front-runner in the Delaware governor's race in 2016 before that wretched disease laid him low. He fought the cancer for two years, and his father's family grave plot has become crowded once again.


In the end, and from one husband and father to another, the best I can do is share the words of another public servant named Abraham Lincoln: "I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming ... I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost."

Godspeed, sir. I am so very sorry.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31085-the-loved-and-the-lost-a-note-to-the-biden-family

A thought for Joe Biden

"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming...I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost."

-- Abraham Lincoln

The "Bernie Sanders Is A Racist" talking point is comically dumb

...and smacks of desperation. Example:


No need for a wall of words in response to this. One will suffice.


"I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

-- Robert Kennedy



Let's get this done.

Is there a "war" going on in this forum?

Twice in two days I've seen GD posts referencing a "war" in the Sports forum that is somehow my fault. I've posted here twice in six months, I think. Did I start a "war" and then miss it completely?



May June July August September October November December January February March April May June July August September October first Tuesday in November

...is the standing election season as of now. That's quite a lot of time to dig in. He's behind now? Wait until his message has aaaaaaaall that time to get out into the voting population. Dude's a machine, his message resonates across the board, and he doesn't have Citibank on speed-dial.

Hillary Clinton campaigns like a bull in a china shop while on fire with hundred-dollar-bills falling out of its ass. The Gilded Age 21'st-Century-style is coming to an end, rapidly, and Bernie is a better campaigner by far.

Gonna be fun to watch, anyway.

The Letter to Mrs. Bixby

Dear Madam,--

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

Abraham Lincoln
Nov. 21, 1864


As it turns out, only two of her sons were confirmed casualties of the war. Two others either deserted and never came home, or died in prison camps. One made it home alive.


Leaving all that aside - along with the question of whether this was written by Lincoln himself or by John Hay, his aide - the fathomless pathos of the sentiment burning in the words stands on its own, written in the fourth year of the butcher's bill.

Pick some flowers today.

In 1868, John A. Logan, general of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared May 30 to be "Decoration Day" in honor of the fallen from the horrific Civil War that had only ended three years before. His thinking was that May 30 was the perfect day because flowers would be blooming all over the nation they died to save.

One hundred years later, people trying to end a war picked those flowers and slid them into the rifle barrels held by National Guardsmen called out to quell resistance, because those people were trying to save their lives, too.

The history of this nation is convoluted, strange, beautiful and brutal...but threaded through it all is war, and those who have borne the brunt. We can spend the next 364 days arguing, or agreeing, over the merits or failures of America's most sanguinary of talents: dealing death at a distance.

On this day, we dip the flag, play taps, and remember those who went down to dusty death in the absolute worst of conceivable circumstances, so far from home. Veterans Day is for the survivors. Today is for the dead. They happened. They were here, and now they are not. One can chew on the reasons until their teeth are worn to nubs, but the fact will still remain: They were here, and now they are not.

Remember them...and pick some flowers.

You know, a lot of you people really drive me up the wall.

I know 95% of you only as screen names, but despite that so many of you have the capacity to make me chew on the inside of my cheeks until I'm spitting blood on the keyboard. To Hell with these people, I've said more than once. Who needs this aggravation? I can just go play in traffic and have done with it.

...and then a member like JeffR passes away, and the needle screeches off the record, and I remember how much joy and solace and humor and education I have found in this place, because of people like him. I only knew him as a screen name, but the news of his loss hit me like a blow. That was the measure of the man; he made that large an impact on someone he never laid eyes on, because of the excellent force of his presence.

You people drive me crazy. I love you so much.

That's family, I guess.

To NanceGreggs and everyone else feeling this loss most keenly, you are most tenderly in my thoughts.

Here's to you, Jeff. Safe travels and following seas.

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