Editorial: Rebel with a cause

Ar­len Specter

When he was laid to rest Tues­day af­ter­noon in a cemetery in Lower Mo­re­land just across the bor­der with Somer­ton, Ar­len Specter left a leg­acy that likely will re­main un­matched by 99.9 per­cent of Amer­ic­an politi­cians.
While most politi­cians are quite ad­ept at talk­ing the talk and say­ing and do­ing a whole lot of noth­ing in a whole lot of words and time, Mr. Specter — Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. sen­at­or who passed away Sunday morn­ing — ac­tu­ally walked the walk with com­mon sense, de­cency and true pub­lic ser­vice.
The ac­col­ades that poured in fol­low­ing word that Mr. Specter had suc­cumbed to can­cer were more than just the ob­lig­at­ory lip ser­vice that mourn­ers typ­ic­ally give to the re­cently de­par­ted. The good things that politi­cians and reg­u­lar people alike said about the former pro­sec­utor, de­fense at­tor­ney and sen­at­or were genu­ine.
Sen. Specter’s fierce in­de­pend­ent streak, of­ten mis­in­ter­preted by skep­tics as polit­ic­al op­por­tunism, be­nefited folks in Pennsylvania and the en­tire na­tion more than they prob­ably real­ize.
If most politi­cians had emu­lated Sen. Specter by think­ing for them­selves in­stead of think­ing for the bosses and ex­trem­ists in their polit­ic­al parties, Amer­ica would not be in the polit­ic­al and fisc­al sink­hole that it cur­rently finds it­self in.
In the end, Sen. Specter re­lied on stand-up com­edy to help him through his ill­ness, and that should in­spire all of us to take our cue from him, es­pe­cially in try­ing times. The mor­al of the Ar­len Specter cop­ing story: A hearty dose of laughter is life’s best medi­cine. ••
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