Jonathan Alter on the lessons from Ted Kennedy and Hamilton Jordan

While I tend to off-blog responsibilities, you may be interested to read this lovely essay by Jonathan Alter in the current (2 June) issue of Newsweek entitled, “How We Really Help Ted.”

There was a time when mentioning Kennedy and Jimmy Carter (or Carter’s right hand) in the same breath would have meant a story about a Democratic family feud even more bitter than this year’s between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But today these men offer priceless lessons in how to overcome endless adversity and deep unpopularity and go on to lead redemptive and joyful lives that touch millions. Their example might also get us into a new war we desperately need–a war to save the more than 500,000 Americans who die every year of cancer.

Alter himself is a cancer survivor and has been very close with Senator Kennedy as well as former Carter chief of staff Hamilton Jordan. Jordan died a little over a week ago at age 63 but, as Alter notes, after having lived with four different cancers over the last 22 years. I was quite remiss in not writing last week about Mr Jordan as he was a strong and active proponent of cancer research funding working in partnership with my primary research organization, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), who issued their own obituary last week on his numerous contributions in this regard.

Jordan was a key advisor and strategist for Jimmy Carter during the 1976 presidential campaign and during Carter’s presidency, serving as White House chief of staff from 1979-1980. As such, he played a powerful role in the formulation of election strategies and government policies. Jordan was also well known for advocacy that gave hope and encouragement to people with cancer, whether they were newly diagnosed or celebrating milestones of survivorship. His cancer advocacy and unique point of view are summed up in his New York Times bestselling book, No Such Thing as a Bad Day.

Despite being a top-tier journalist and serving frequently television news commentator, Mr Alter has even found time to drop a note to this humble blogger on a previous post about CMS reimbursement for lymphoma radioimmunotherapy. So even though I am a fawning fan, it is his writing and clear intellect that I have enjoyed for the last several years. So I encourage readers to pull up Mr Alter’s excellent article while I get back to producing some original content in the next few days.

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