WFB heads the list of important men who reached down and took an interest in me when there was nothing in it for them. Sen. Charles Percy, Missouri Gov. Warren Hearnes, and Gene Bradley of GE were others in the 1960s. In the ’70s there were John Ehrlichman and Bill Armstrong; in the ‘80s, Donald Rumsfeld and Chuck Stevinson. I try to pay it forward in their honor.
Gone are my fantasies of succeeding as the next Bill Buckley – or later the next George Roche, my mentor at Hillsdale College. I just seek opportunities to “be someone’s Bill Buckley,” in the sense of taking time to encourage that eager, questing youngster as he long ago encouraged me. Winning a million in the lottery is nothing compared to the rewards of this.
We who follow Christ, as Buckley so devoutly did, call the recent season Lent and the coming days Holy Week. Self-giving is the keynote. The Good Samaritan, helping where he didn’t have to, is the example. God-talk speaks far less than actions. WFB’s life shouted and sang.