“A Man of Noble and Good Heart”

“Our children are the living messages we send to a future we will never see… Will we rob them of their destiny? Will we rob them of their dreams? No – we will not do that.” (Elijah Cummings)

In a week that offered a cornucopia of deceit, corruption, disrespect, and disappointment, many of us found hope and reassurance in—of all places—a funeral.

Congressman Elijah Cummings’ death on October 17 stunned and saddened so many Americans. He was a consistent voice for justice, for equality, and for right action. He was also, as Chair of the House Oversight Committee, a key figure in efforts to protect our democracy. And, as so many eulogizers noted, Congressman Cummings was also a relentlessly kind man.

I was brought to tears by former President Barack Obama’s eulogy—a brief, lovely, and quintessentially Obama speech (oh, how I have missed those!).

Today, I just wanted to share a couple of his comments, and a link to the full speech.

Thank you, Elijah Cummings, for your service to our nation.

From President Obama’s Eulogy for the Congressman:

“It has been remarked that Elijah was a kind man. …I was thinking, I would want my daughters to know how much I love them, but I would also want them to know that being a strong man includes being kind. That there is nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There is nothing weak about looking out for others. There is nothing weak about being honorable. You are not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.”

“[Elijah] would remind all of us that our time is too short not to fight for what’s good and what is true and what is best in America. …it falls upon each of us to give voice to the voiceless, and comfort to the sick, and opportunity to those not born to it, and to preserve and nurture our democracy.”

[Cummings was] “A leader who once said he would die for his people, even as he lived every minute for them—his life validates the things we tell ourselves about what’s possible in this country.”

“Most people who are hating on you, they are not worried about where you are. They’re worried about where you’re going.” (Elijah Cummings)

17 thoughts on ““A Man of Noble and Good Heart”

  1. I watched the funeral as well. There were many thoughtful and moving tributes, but President Obama’s eulogy was, for me, the most meaningful. I loved the point he made about Elijah Cummings being “honourable” before his distinguished career in politics. A simple sentence, but so powerful, so significant, because it is in such short supply.

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    • I loved that, too, Fransi. An eloquent reminder that “honorable” (or honourable) isn’t just a title bestowed on one by their position, but a description one earns by how they live their life.

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      • Absolutely Donna. Work titles are nice when they are a testament to hard work, but they are not the measure of a man or woman.

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  2. I love this speech. Why does it seem that the best among us die so young? In comparison to his colleagues, Congressman Cummings should have had a lot of years ahead of him.

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  3. Hi, Donna – I usually avoid the news (especially news covering politics) because I cannot take the negativity. Thank you for sharing this incredible example of the strength of kindness. And thank you for the clip — so powerful!

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    • Hi, Donna. Glad you liked it. There is so much negativity, incivility, and bad behavior these days that avoidance is a good self-care strategy. Finding these rare examples of humanity at its best always feels like discovering treasure. Thanks for your comment!

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