Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

JACK NEWFIELD BY JIMMY BRESLIN

It takes one to know one. One great writer eulogizes
another.

We bury Newfield today in a meadow on Long Island. It is just as well we do it today. It ends his suffering from a disease that thousands of stories later, still kills as it has for hundreds of years.

And it is just as well he gets peace now because he was being choked by rages at a life around him that he knew deserved only his hatred.

All those years he wrote and talked and demonstrated against a war in Asia that killed 58,000 of our young. Our best hope, his best hope, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated.

Now Newfield finds himself represented by a senator from his own Brooklyn, Charles Schumer, who voted for a war in Iraq.

He is also represented by another senator, Hillary Clinton, who voted in favor of the war in Iraq.

He freed a man from death row and wrote so much about the evil of a government that decides it has the right to execute. It is people’s lowest moment.

And he finds himself represented by a United States senator from Brooklyn, Schumer, who favors the death penalty.

He also is represented by a senator, Hillary Clinton, who favors executions.

And the candidate who is supposed to represent him in the state election, Eliot Spitzer, is for execution by state.

So Newfield leaves us the things he hates the most.

But we also inherit something else.

Somewhere a crystal of air snaps, and the tiniest sound causes somebody to wonder where did this come from? What am I supposed to do? Where?

And when the curiosity is raised, it must go naturally to all our Brooklyns. Where the housing for the poor is scarcer than it ever has been in our time. Where the condition of children is worse than at any time since Dickens of London. And hope bursts in the air that

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