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We so often claim to be owners when we are in fact stewards. Indeed, with a sufficiently macroscopic lens, one that encompasses mortality, ownership gives way to stewardship entirely. And stewardship, with its connotations of preserving for later generations, may not be the right word, for there is no guarantee that the objects that mean a lot to us will be anything other than clutter to our descendants. The exigencies of time and the vagaries of individual experience ensure that most of what we own will speak only to us. A copy of Moby-Dick with a circle around the page number 38, a scorecard from an afternoon of golf, a postcard bearing a photo of a smiling father and his son: all of these things will someday become clutter, their stories silenced.

It was an entire evening based on a demonstrable lie because it was an entire evening based on rejecting — publicly and dishonestly, and without caring that the facts of your own biographies give the lie to the words you’re saying — the idea of a general political commonwealth as expressed through the national government, which has been the great engine behind the expansion of the country’s size, the country’s wealth, and, yes, the country’s freedom. It was a purchase in that political commonwealth, and not in a loose confederation of states, that King sought, and that Lyndon sought to give the country’s poorest citizens, including the vote, which the government of John Kasich in Ohio is presently working assiduously to roll back.

Liberalism isn’t dead in this country. It isn’t even comatose. It simply is suffering a severe case of acute laryngitis. It simply has temporarily — we hope — lost its voice… . But God Almighty, God Almighty, we’ve got to shout these truths in which we believe from the rooftops, like that scene in the movie ‘Network.’ We’ve got to throw open our windows and shout these truths to the streets and to the ­heavens.

“CBS News became the meeting hall, the cathedral, the corner bar and the town square — wherever people went when they wanted the healing comfort of a group,” Brinkley writes, and Cronkite was the “impresario” of mourning, the unofficial national grief counselor.



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