Elizabeth Edwards Knew What Was Important

Tue, December 7, 2010

Democrats, Moms & Politics, Women in Politics

Elizabeth Edwards died today at the age of 61 after her long battle with breast cancer.

While I never met Elizabeth Edwards in person (the line was so long at BlogHer ’07, I never made it to the front), I did have a chance to interview her by telephone shortly after that.  I’ve long been an admirer, even when those guys who claim to be journalists who wrote Game Change smeared her as a political she-devil and others mocked and criticized her for the life choices she made.

But I admired her for the choices — even the ones that I might not have made if I had been in her shoes — because she was honest about them.  Plus she was one outspoken, warm, intelligent and politically savvy gal.

We all knew that she would not, in the end, be able to vanquish the breast cancer that had taken over her body, but I think we all hoped she would somehow pull it off, in the same way she pulled off her late in life second motherhood.  Because she was an amazingly strong voice for the things she believed in.  And when she believed in something, she didn’t back down — whether it was championing health care for everyone or, yes, standing by her man even if he didn’t deserve it.

And she was the kind of woman we all wanted to be gal pals with — you could talk with her about public policy, as well as hearing about her love of meatloaf and jammies she bought at Target.

Elizabeth was a great friend to the MOMocrats, a group to which I’ve belonged since it’s inception.  She often told us via E-mails or notes that we needed to keep up the good fight to get more women involved in the political process.  As we mourn the loss of such an amazing woman, I think the best tribute we could make to her is to keep the promise to have more women speak out, run for office and take charge of this crazy, messed up political world.

I have a feeling her daughter, Cate, might just step into those shoes.

Image via People magazine.

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8 Responses to “Elizabeth Edwards Knew What Was Important”

  1. Just Margaret Says:

    She was an amazing and inspiring woman, one whom I deeply admired. This is a wonderful tribute, Joanne. Thank you.

  2. Sharon Says:

    There is a void with her passing. We need more role models like her. Thank you for this lovely tribute. I am here via “Just Margaret” and am grateful to her for the link.

  3. Caroline Says:

    Her death has really thrown me for a loop. There are lots of reasons why but I guess there is one that really resonates for me. We’ve lost one of “us”. A MOTHER who has affected change in a positive constructive way through her political work, in her community and in her family. I feel like there are so few mothers – as in women who don’t brush aside their roles as mothers, women who don’t apologize for being mothers – that are out there getting it done, finding respect and truly changing the world. We lost something real yesterday. I hope other mothers who might have a voice like hers can step up and start accomplishing even part of what she has. We need more of us to start following her example. What a loss. My heart is with her family especially during this very very difficult time.

  4. If I Could Escape Says:

    So sad to lose someone like her far too young, but what a great tribute to her you’ve written.

  5. kim/hormone-colored days Says:

    I, too, was heartbroken by this news. I recall her being the closest thing to a political candidate that bothered to show up at BlogHer 2007 in Chicago. The actual candidates waited a week or two to show up at the Daily Kos gathering. Why bother with a bunch of women, right?

    Her death is a such a loss. And it’s so sad to think of the emotional pain, let alone the physical, she suffered in recent years.

    I was hoping you could recommend a charity or two that might might donate to in her honor, political or otherwise. I hope you’ll add this to the post and ping me on Twitter is you do!

  6. Shannon Drury Says:

    This is one of the best tributes to her I’ve read yet. Thanks, Joanne.

  7. Susan @WhyMommy Says:

    I really love this perspective, Joanne – Elizabeth Edwards as an advocate and a woman not afraid to speak out.

    Thanks for writing this, and for all your work encouraging women to become involved – as a candidate, as a worker, or as an informed observer – in the political process.

  8. Susan @WhyMommy Says:

    P.S. Caroline’s comment resonated with me so much – right on, Caroline, right on.


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