Between the painting, wallpapering, plant-potting, and such here in outer Newfoundland, I've hardly had time to even absorb, much less mark and opine upon, the passing of Tony Snow. We all knew it was coming, but tried to play ostrich about it anyway.
There's been lots of retrospective on the 'net -- one of the benefits of having it, so as to preserve and reproduce words and voices out of the past -- again, too much to absorb any time soon. But while stumbling around in search of who might be saying it best, I was moved by the all-too-human response of Mark Davis at RealClearPolitics:
Like Tim Russert before him, Tony Snow brought an infectious passion and likability to his craft... His 17 months at the White House press room podium made predecessor Scott McClellan look like the useless shlub history now reveals him to be.
When Tony Snow took over that post in Spring 2006, one of President Bush's key problems was the passionless ineptitude that poisoned the delivery of his message. Snow fixed that in one day, establishing a style of addressing the press with conviction and humor. There had been no one like him before, and I don't see anyone equaling him again.
[He] never let go of his passion for life, even as cancer slowly robbed him. Now we are the ones who have been robbed. Tony Snow should have been able to see his kids grow older as he grew old with his bride, and we should have been able to enjoy his sunny demeanor during political clashes lasting well into the middle of this century. It is his gifts, the kind he shared with Tim Russert, that are sorely needed, not just in government and on TV, but in our entire national discourse.
I am sad and angry and I miss him. My faith tells me I'm not supposed to grumble so much when God calls people home. Well, I'm sorry. While I know there's some great talent gathering in heaven, I simply was not done with them down here.
Having gotten that off one's chest, the more gracious reflection was the President's:
I know it's hard to make sense of today. It is impossible to fully comprehend why such a good and vital man was taken from us so soon. But these are the great mysteries of life -- and Tony knew as well as anyone that they're not ours to unveil.
The day Tony was born was also the day that many of his fellow Catholics pay tribute to Saint Justin. Justin was also a gifted thinker and writer, and a powerful witness for the Christian faith. Because of his beliefs, he suffered many times of trial, and in the year 165 A.D. he was arrested. Before he received a sentence of death, he was asked: "If you are killed, do you suppose you will go to heaven?" Justin replied: "I do not suppose it, but I know and am fully persuaded of it."
Tony Snow knew that, as well. That brought him great peace. When talking about the struggle he waged so admirably, he said that no matter how bad times may sometimes seem, "God doesn't promise tomorrow, he does promise eternity."
And so today we send this man of faith and character and joy on his final journey. Tony Snow has left the City of Washington for the City of God. May he find eternal rest in the arms of his Savior. And may the Author of all creation watch over his family and all those who loved him, admired him, and will always cherish his memory.
Requiescat in pacem.