Kathryn Lopez

Democrat John Edwards held a press conference to explain that his wife has had a recurrence of the breast cancer she was diagnosed with in 2004. I post online that we are praying for the Edwards, and I get e-mails like this: "So, Edwards is about to drop out of the race because his wife's cancer had returned? Looks like your prayers have been answered. I suppose you'll also be 'praying' for the other Democratic candidates. You're not fooling anyone. We see right through you."

This on the same day we were memorializing one of my nationalreview.com contributors, Catherine Seipp, a clever, funny writer out of Los Angeles who passed away the day before. She was a lively, colorful, fun, loyal gal. And she had all kinds of friends -- the kind of friends who could only be brought together in the same room because of Cathy.

Andrew Breitbart wrote a remembrance: "Before I met Cathy, I knew no one. After, I knew everyone. And her group of friends came in every shape, size and ideology. Rich, poor, journalist, blogger, controversy starters and stoppers, rainbow-headed film reviewers, a sex goddess, a babe named 'Moxie,' and even the occasional literate Orthodox Jew porn connoisseur. As a pronounced conservative she was quite liberal in that regard. And her bohemian Silverlake aesthetic only added to the package of joyful contradiction."

Her friends, her editors, her readers even -- we all watched her struggle with cancer, never whining, always looking for something constructive. Before all that, we had watched her get mad, take aim, and be brutally honest in a well-crafted way -- always surpassing mere politics, never with equivocation. It should have been entirely impossible for anyone ever to forget that Cathy was human. But if all you know is who's a Democrat and who's a Republican, it is a lot easier to divorce yourself from basic human empathy. And that's not good for anyone -- or politics.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.