Keller @ Large: Gabrielle Giffords Reminds Us What Really Matters

BOSTON (CBS) – If you watched the news coverage yesterday of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ tendering her resignation from Congress – or saw her YouTube video saying goodbye to her constituents – without becoming emotional, you’re a lot more stoic than me.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Giffords has been a national model of courage during her recovery from near-fatal gunshot wounds suffered at the hand of a lunatic in Tucson just over a year ago.

You’ll recall how that shooting spree touched off an ugly round of partisan finger-pointing about our political climate, which only subsided when it became clear that severe mental illness, not political rhetoric, was the likeliest cause.

But yesterday on the floor of the House, the outpouring of admiration and emotional support for Giffords was bi-partisan, because there are some things that transcend politics.

And thankfully for those who despair at times about the human condition, especially when we watch our political culture in action, empathy for victims – of violence, natural disaster, or disease – is one of those transcendent things.

When we see someone struck down by circumstances beyond their control, we naturally think: there but for the grace of God go I.

And that thought humbles us.

All of a sudden, we are reminded that our good health, if we’re lucky enough to have it, is fragile, subject to the whim of cancer, Mother Nature, or a random act of violence.

Our wealth and well-being and self-esteem offer little or no defense against them.

Stripped of those artificial defenses by the sight of what could happen, we are forced to confront our own humanity and vulnerability, and recognize – if we had somehow forgotten – that if we don’t have the love and support of family, friends and community at the moment of crisis, then we have nothing.

Gabrielle Giffords has given all of us a precious gift – the proof that with love and great courage, we, too, might be able to survive the worst.

Thanks, Congresswoman.

We needed that.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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  • petem

    Great piece Jon! It is uplifting to see how people respond to these transcendent events.
    It is sad that people can’t hold a piece of that in their hearts to see the real importance in so many other important issues of our time.

    • gramps

      She could have held on, but didn’t, her State came 1ST, so she stepped aside….She was & is, ‘unselfish’….The people of her State came 1ST!

      ‘Young Blood’, a refreshing ingredient, much needed (on BOTH sides of th isle) in DC!

      I wish her well..


      How many other people on ‘Capital Hill’ would have stepped aside?

      ‘TERM LIMITS’!

      If this country is to survive, “We must get rid of the ‘old-goats & goat-etts’, aka ” The ‘NARCISSIST’ party!

      The, “I’ll vote for yours if you vote for mine crowd”!

  • foamy

    Is there a “like” button on the Keller-at-large page??

  • tsalnew

    Beautiful and uplifting piece, Jon. And no way to watch this woman at any point in her recovery without the feeling of admiration and emotion and everything that comes in between.

  • The Owl

    I have never liked her politics.

    But she took the time to meet real constituents who were not filtered or programmed by her handlers.

    Choice of Giffords or Barney Frank? Giffords in a landslide.

    Courageous woman. She will be missed in the halls of Congress.

  • Stephen Stein

    Beautiful piece, Jon. Almost scriptural.

  • emom

    Jon its hard to image in the face of tragedy if someone would , could or will push on to survive. When faced with such pain ,suffering and the uncertainty if life will be the same. I applaud gabby for her will to survive, her struggles, her courage , But I also applaud her husband. His devotion to gabby, staying with her thought thick and thin with every step forward and the 5 steps back. I have watched gabby and her husband go thru this remarkable triumph. She has a long road ahead of her, she will get better but it will take time.
    I can relate to gabby and her husband in every way. I know what it must have been like , the not knowing what will happen next, will my loved one be the same , will the memories be there, Will the person I once know still exist. Will I be able to withstand what might come next, can I handle it no matter how bad it will be.
    It takes a lot of someone to not only say they will be there and stand by a person but its takes more to do it. To be there every day, minute , month after month and the years to come. To go thru such a recovery and still be there no matter what. I applaud the them for their devotion of love. You can see it. When I saw her and her husband on TV I was fixed and glued to the TV , in the end I was moved to tears. It brought me back in time to a tragedy of my own , It made me think once again of how hard it was to withstand the pain and look forward to our future. I did it for the same reasons LOVE.
    My husband suffered a devastating stroke and life changed forever. But no matter how much things changed I battled though it all. Love surely conquers all,
    Gabby is a remarkable and courageous person and mark is just as remarkable and devoted. The best to both of them .

    • Willow

      Amen, Emom! I do hope your husband is healing and I pray for continued strength and wisdom for your family.

      • emom

        Over a decade and my loyalty and dedication is still as strong as the day we married, He has come as far as he will come. But I am grateful for the fight he has given and the strength he has shown. No one in life is perfect, but we strive to achieve it. Thank you Gabby for making me see that all over again.

    • tsalnew

      emom your story and the way you wrote it so beautifully brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing it with us

  • BostonIrish

    Nice column, Jon.

    emom, I know how you feel. And I agree, remarkable progress for Gabby.

  • emom

    Thank you ,

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