Tuesday, March 04, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. - 1925-2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. - 1925-2008

Newsweek's cover story on the death of the voice of right wing political commentary prompted me to read again a copy of a letter of thanks Mr. Buckley wrote to my grandmother, which I keep framed in my office. Though I may not have agreed with his political views and probably have more affinity to his son, Christopher Buckley (still waiting for the brilliant Little Green Men to come out as a film - too bad his father will no longer be around to play the main character), I can't help but appreciate his skill as a writer. But judge for yourself...

June 8, 1967

Mrs. Joseph A. Martin
Box 518
Big Stone Gap,

Dear Mrs. Martin:

Your gift has given us heart. It's too early, as yet, to know for sure whether we will make it, but if enough others respond as generously as you have done, the prospects are good. We can only hope.

And hope, also, that you have some idea how much you mean to us. Not only concretely - your contribution will mean the survival of the magazine if, as I say, there are others as generous as you - but also spiritually. We write sometimes into a void. We see, of course, the effect we have in some specific instances - an article read into the Congressional Record, a student debate based on some of the things we write, letters from practical politicians who are moved by some of the analyses we publish. But our donors are, for the most part, a silent lot, in the highest traditions of philanthropy. But when the magazine staggers under the load, you come in from the shadows, and help us up from our knees. Perhaps someone once behaved towards you in that way, in which case you will know the measure of our gratitude.

Yours faithfully,

Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.

It reminds me of Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby, when he had to inform her of the loss of five of her sons to the war. Form letters just don't cut it...