Watching MSNBC Friday afternoon and evening was like sitting in the living room of a family in mourning. Understandably so. Moderator of “Meet the Press”, host of MSNBC’s “The Tim Russert Show” and NBC Washington Bureau Chief, Tim Russert had collapsed while preparing for Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press.” He died soon thereafter.
It was hard to watch the MSNBC coverage because this was no obligatory tribute. There was a genuine sense of loss. It was heartbreaking to watch Andrea Mitchell choke up as she recalled how Russert was the only one besides her own father who would affectionately call her “Mitch”. Throughout the afternoon and evening’s coverage the predominant message was what a high bar Russert had set for his NBC peers and the news industry in general. He set a high standard for how to conduct oneself personally and professionally.
However, I think he also set a high standard on how to die. Tim Russert died doing the work he loved to do. He had a genuine passion for his work and in this most unusual political season, he was like a kid in a candy store. He was at the top of his game, most recently (back in May) declaring Barack Obama the Democratic nominee before it was officially so, yet by his pronouncement, making it so for anyone who was following the race. If Russert said it was over then surely it was.
So we take from the sad news of Tim Russert’s passing a lesson on how to live and how to die. Enjoy every minute of life right up until the end if you possibly can. By staying on top of your game every day of your life you guarantee that when your time comes, you go out on top. That’s what Tim Russert did.