“You’re betraying your whole life if you don’t say what you think – and you don’t say it honestly and bluntly.” That is one of my favorite Charles Krauthammer quotes.
In case you aren’t familiar with him, Charles Krauthammer was born 3/13/50 and became paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 23 in a diving accident. After fourteen months recovering in a hospital, he returned to medical school and became a psychiatrist.
He left that field and became a columnist and political commentator because he “felt that history was happening outside his door”. In 1987, while writing for the Washington Post, he won the Pulitzer Prize for “witty and insightful columns on national issues” and he was on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 – 2006.
I’m not sure how I first discovered Charles, but one of my favorite ways to kill time during my lunch hour at work on Fridays would be to check out his column. He stated the facts, used historical references and let you draw your own conclusion, breaking complex issues down in such a way that even I could understand. Even though I didn’t always agree with his opinions, he was able to justify them and sometimes gave me a completely different way to see a particular issue.
I ran across his last book, The Point Of It All, a couple of months ago and I’ve enjoyed reading this compilation of his articles as much as I did his other, Things That Matter.
Both of these books have excellent articles in them, although I’ll be honest, I had to pull out my dictionary more than once (somehow, someway, I will use kleptocrat in one of my novels, what a great word). Charles doesn’t just talk about politics, he talks about life and baseball and chess and culture and space travel, anything and everything. I love hearing his insights and feeling his passion through his words.
I have no interest in chess or baseball, and not nearly as much as I should in political and global affairs, but I read every word in every article and took away some insight from each one.
I also truly enjoyed finishing one of his articles regarding a current relevant issue, only to discover that he wrote those words ten, twenty or more years ago. Some things just don’t change, do they?
Charles was an Orthodox Jew and one my favorite articles in The Point Of It All is “Just Leave Christmas Alone” where he states “The attempts to de-Christianize Christmas are as absurd as they are relentless”. That article was published December 17, 2004.
Charles Krauthammer died on June 21, 2018. He was in the process of compiling the articles for his last book when he died and his son, Daniel Krauthammer, did a great job with the final edits, adding not only a wonderful introduction, but also a copy of his touching and heartwarming eulogy.
Charles wrote his last article on 6/8/18 and I wanted to share a part of that with you:
“I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life – full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life I intended.”
I wanted to bring Charles to everyone’s attention because if you haven’t had a chance to read any of his writing before now, I hope you take the time to check out one of his books, or even just try and find some of his articles online. I think there is something in them for everyone. I miss him, but I imagine that wherever he is now, he’s letting them know exactly what he thinks about it, honestly and bluntly.
Thanks for joining me,