I have always appreciated Dan Rather, from the time he got beat-up as a reporter on the floor of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, to when he was embedded on behalf of CBS News on the ground in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion there, to when he became CBS’s Evening News Anchor after Walter Cronkite retired, and after he left CBS News to report and write on other platforms.

I have listened to him over many years. I love his down-home speaking style, his recall of Texas aphorisms and folksy imagery, the accented sound of his voice, and his wisdom.

I read religiously now his email postings in his series called “Steady,” and the one that came today (August 2) is to-the-point of what we all face in these times. I offer it below.

I’m not the only one who regards Dan Rather as a national treasure. He has earned it.

“Sometimes I remind myself that I haven’t talked to an old friend in a while. There are a lot of excuses, of course. Days pass by. Everyone is busy in some way. But when I do decide to pick up the phone or write a note, I am almost never disappointed. 

“How are you?” I ask. It can be a throwaway line, a perfunctory conversation starter meant to elicit an “I’m okay,” and then move on. But I mean it, and I want to know. 

These are difficult times. We all know that. There is a lot that is dispiriting. There is a lot that is demoralizing. There is a lot (more than we might want to admit) that can be outright terrifying. 

We all try to soldier on as best we can. We carry burdens that are personal, professional, communal, and familial. Fate strikes us all in unique and unpredictable ways. 

And then there is all that hangs over us at the national and global level. We talk about it often here — the threat to democracy, our climate crisis, a pandemic, attacks on our constitutional rights, and on, and on. 

But where we can find hope, support, empathy, and resilience, is in our human connections, our communities, our networks of friends and family. Age, distance, the pandemic, financial burdens, and many other hurdles can make that closeness more difficult to maintain.”