As a little girl, I often marveled at my father. He was editor of a magazine, traveled the globe and possessed a command of language, communications, history and the news. It was humbling to be his daughter, then empowering. I remember spending healthy portions of summer vacation in his office, or under the gentle tutelage of others who worked for him. I remember the Wang computers, the enormous design and layout rooms and desks. The smell of collaboration was in the air. I was infinitely amazed. Before me were dozens of people putting together a magazine, but more than that – they were informing readers of the truth.
It struck me how noble a profession journalism could be. I was naive, to be certain. But after17 or 18 years in politics and media…I guess you could say I have been lucky. Once in a while, that idealism manifests itself in political consultants, elected officials, sub-cabinet officials, policy makers and yes, journalists.
In 2006, I made a decision to leave campaign consulting behind me. After working on presidential, senate & gubernatorial races – I realized I wasn’t cut out for the medieval bloodletting necessary to be successful. For as long as I can remember, writing is my love. From the fumbling poems and silly news stories and short stories I penned as a little girl, to the daily reports I sort through today that encompass genocide, war, human brutality and corruption – writing and absorbing information about the world we live in has been my greatest love professionally.
Survival inside the beltway is about building an urban family. Sometimes you hang out in person. Sometimes you spend years talking on the phone, via email, and on Twitter before you ever find the time to grab a coffee. Or lunch.
This summer, I returned to Virginia. While hosting a dear friend who was visiting from France, we spent a day in DC. We were running late, and traffic was a bear. I had scheduled coffee with Mediaite‘s Tommy Christopher but after a couple of phone calls, blazing heat and a couple of hours that disappeared into a black hole… I canceled. We were both scheduled to be back in DC this week. My schedule is less hectic, and I was pleased to have more time to hang out. Tommy is a lot more than a White House reporter.
Principled, a loving father, a devoted friend, passionate about truth and fairness – he is one of those rare men that packs smarts, humor and kindness into one personality. More than once, he’s kept me honest.
I took for granted that this week would be like any week. School was starting, my daughter began high school – and I was able to begin the tough task of catching up on research, writing and putting together my new home. Turns out, this week was nothing like I planned.
Tommy Christopher had a heart attack. He’s 42. And he tweeted it live. “I gotta be me. Livetweeting my heart attack. Beat that!”
What’s more…my respect for and feelings of kinship aren’t unique. Dozens and dozens of people offered support, encouragement and well-wishes. Because Tommy is one of those guys, you gotta love him. Because men like him don’t come along in life – let alone journalism and politics – every day.
If you know Tommy, send him some love. If you don’t, say a little prayer. Or do a rain dance for his healing. As for me, I can’t wait until he’s back inside the beltway, sans hospital gown, and sitting across the table from me with a cup of coffee. Even if it has to be decaf, to keep that immense heart of his strong.