Live Like You Were Dying

Ezra Klein makes a strong point on the matter of whether John Edwards should have pulled out of the presidential race once he learned that his wife’s cancer has returned:

There’s a sort of subtle insinuation that sick people should crawl back into their caves and stay there till they either die or get better. But when you hear the Edwards’s discuss the idea that her cancer is now incurable, that it’s not something she will get better from and so not something where they can hit pause, wait for it to pass, and then resume their lives, you have to think that the question they’re asking themselves is not how can Elizabeth best get well, but how would they like to spend the rest of their years. And knowing her even casually, I’m not surprised to learn the answer is “fighting.”

Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman (through the voice of the late Tug McGraw’s boy, Tim) suggested sky diving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and bull riding as worthwhile pursuits knowing that your clock is about to run out. I suppose “trying to make manifest her and her husband’s vision of what America can and should be” stacks up pretty well.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DaveD says:

    How the disease will progress for Ms. Edwards is still an unknown. I would guess that if she became truly ill, Mr. Edwards would then withdraw to be with his wife. A public comment does not need to be made in that regard; it is tacitly understood. I can’t see myself voting for John Edwards but if he makes it to the White House I hope Ms. Edwards is able to enjoy it fully with him.

  2. Tano says:

    All of our clocks are running out.

  3. James Joyner says:

    All of our clocks are running out.

    No doubt about that. Still, most people Elizabeth Edwards’ age live as if they had another 30-40 years coming to them.

  4. Anderson says:

    Hugo put it as “we are all condemned to death, with a temporary reprieve of indefinite duration.”