Thank you so much Jack—I’ll have to confess to you that I’m very relieved, because Jack is sitting next to my daughter Sarah . . . and he spent a portion of our dinner tonight pumping her for all of my deep dark secrets. So I didn’t know quite how that was going to turn out. But I have to say that’s a perfect preface for my remarks in terms of Jack’s reflections on what an honor it is to be part of this movement, and the kind of people that we all get to interact with. I love the fact that I get to get up every morning and work on this issue.
But sometimes it is hard and sometimes it’s wonderful too—when your job is to be in the trenches on an issue like the one that we all care so deeply about, the thing that keeps you going are the wonderful people that you work with. And that leads me to what a great, great and deep honor it is for me tonight to get to introduce Paul Greenberg, who is one of the most remarkable people in our movement. When Maria invited me to come and have the honor of introducing him, I jumped at the chance. With one singular hidden agenda, which was to have the opportunity to tell Mr. Greenberg what a hero he has been to me over the years. And there have been several times in my life where things that he has written have inspired and uplifted me through some dark times and kept me going when I needed that. My father is probably the founding member of the Paul Greenberg Fan Club. You know how you used to get little clippings in the mail; I now get a steady diet of Paul Greenberg e-mail- forwards from my father who is like “you have to be sure to read this. And I think you should write Mr. Greenberg a note and tell him what a great article this is.” And so I sent him an e-mail yesterday saying, “Hey guess who I get to meet tomorrow night!” So it’s an honor to be able to tell you a little bit about why we are so fortunate to get to hear from Paul Greenberg tonight. The basic biography of Paul Greenberg is that he’s the editorial-page editor of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, but he is also the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969, but he was also a finalist in 1978 and 1986. And in 1987, he went on to win the H.L. Mencken Award. And that’s just a sampling of the paragraphs-long listing of writing awards that he has earned over his career. But the breadth of his commentary—we are here tonight to honor his pro-life writings—but his commentary is so broad, that if you do a quick survey of just the things he’s written in the last month, they include an editorial on foreign policy, on Occupy Wall Street, an analysis of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 proposal, and a reflection on the question of “What Makes a Great Teacher.” He is also the author of several books: one of them is called No Surprises—a collection of essays about Bill Clinton—I did not know, Paul, that you were the originator of the term “Slick Willie.” In that book is a chapter that includes a self-description which I could not resist in sharing—I apologize. He writes: “I like old books, old films, old typefaces, the smell of coffee, the taste of Scotch whiskey, the origin and connotation of words, Mozart, Telemann, ‘Carmen,’ Patsy Cline, all the passions that are safely dead.”
Well, fortunately for us, Paul, you are still safely with us. Paul himself said an editorial is “the day’s news after somebody’s had a chance to think about it.” Well, think he does. There is a wonderful irony that I can’t wait to share with you. His Pulitzer Prize was awarded for a series of op-eds he wrote in 1968 that reflected on civil rights—what he describes as “the need for understanding, and a respect for the rights of others . . .” Isn’t that just a beautiful, beautiful irony for us tonight, because we stand in the great tradition of the abolitionists and the civil rights leaders—this is our great civil rights movement today. And that brings us to the reason that we are honoring him tonight. Paul Greenburg, throughout his career, has been an unflinching defender of life, and I’d like to conclude by reading for you one of the articles that I mentioned to you that I keep with me, that is a great inspiration to me. Ironically, this clipping was sent to me not by my father but by my uncle, so there is a vast family of fans of yours in the Krauss/Yoest household. After one particular political skirmish over abortion, Paul Greenberg wrote: “Even if nothing practical comes of standing up for principle, something will have been accomplished. Future generations will know that this whole culture of death, of which abortion has been so central a part, was not imposed on America without resistance. Call it bearing witness. Voices in the wilderness have been known to prove prophetic. Someday, some way they will be heard. Or maybe not. But at least they will have been raised. Or as Walker Percy [once wrote]: ‘To pro-abortionists: According to the opinion polls, it looks as if you may get your way. But you’re not going to have it both ways. You’re going to be told what you’re doing.’”
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me tonight in welcoming a great pro-life hero, Paul Greenberg.