Elizabeth Edwards has been all over the news since her announcement that her breast cancer has returned. This brave woman has been an inspiration to people all over the country as she continues her fight for transformational change in America right alongside her husband, John Edwards.Â Â
Todayâ€™s multimedia diary is a continuation of a series of multimedia diaries on the Edwards campaign. These diaries attempt to create a way to access a lot of information about the Edwards campaign all in one place. Todayâ€™s diary is a tribute to Elizabeth Edwards, but it is more than that. Her situation has shone a light on the health crises that any family may face at any time. Therefore, this diary focuses not just on Elizabeth Edwards, but on the health care crisis in America and how John Edwards will fix it.Â
Elizabeth Edwards: Right now we feel incredibly optimistic.Â I expect to do next week all the things I did last week, and the week after that, and next year at the same time, all the things I did last week.
Quote: There is no sense that this is a sad house, despite their mother having just discovered her cancer is back.
Iâ€™m not praying for God to save me (ABC News)Â
Elizabeth Edwards: There’s going to be a day before each of us die, and you have to think a little bit about how you want that day filled. Maybe when you’re doing that judging thing, think about how you want the day before you die to look. I want that to be a productive day about which I am enormously proud, as opposed to a day where I had the covers pulled up over my head.
Elizabeth Edwards in Cleveland (excerpts) March 2007Â
Elizabeth Edwards: The notoriety has brought a lot of unwelcome attention, of course, but also it has brought some gifts as well.Â And one of the gifts is a gift that I talk about in my book “Saving Graces,” and that is the gift of support that you get from your friends and from people you don’t know, when people see you have a need.
Elizabeth Edwards in Cleveland (longer) March 2007Â
Elizabeth Edwards: There are a lot of people getting a lot less support than I get and if you know them, make this attention to people facing dire news a calling to you to be supportive of them.
John Edwards on Health Care at SEIU forum (Part 1) March 2007Â
John Edwards: What we have is a dysfunctional health care system in the United States of America and what we need is big, bold, dramatic change, not small change.
John Edwards on Health Care at SEIU forum (Part 2) March 2007Â
John Edwards (to business owner): We have extraordinary health care costs, which you’re dealing with every single year in the operation of your business.Â Those costs have to come down.
John Edwards on Health Care at SEIU forum (Part 3) March 2007Â
John Edwards (to nurse): Well, we have a huge nursing crisis in America, which obviously, you know about firsthand.Â I think a part of that crisis is dealt with by achieving a truly universal health care system, where everyone is reimbursed at a fair rate for the services they’re providing and in the context of achieving this universal health care system, we can regulate in a way that requires that the staffing be adequate.
John Edwards on Health Care (excerpts from speech at Howard University, March 14, 2007)Â
John Edwards: I am proud of the fact that I am, as of this moment, the only candidate for president, Democratic or Republican, who’s laid out a substantive, specific, truly universal health care plan.
John Edwards on Universal Health Care at town hall in Newton, Iowa 3/10/2007Â
John Edwards: Hereâ€™s what this universal health care plan does. Basically, itâ€™s founded on the idea of shared responsibility, which means all of us are going to have to play a role in having truly universal health care.
Edwards universal health care plan: a message to IowansÂ This is the video the Edwards campaign is sending on a DVD to 70,000 Iowa voters.Â
John Edwards: For the country as a whole, whatâ€™s good about my plan is it brings down health care costs. Weâ€™ve got cost containment in a lot of different ways: lower administrative costs, better use of technology, making sure that we use the most cost-effective drugs and treatments that are available. Thereâ€™s just a systematic approach that doesnâ€™t exist today.
John Edwards: We fill in the gaps in the health care system. Mental health parity, mental health treated just like physical health, chronic care, long term care, preventative care â€“ all covered.
In this last minute addition to this diary, Elizabeth and Cate Edwards discuss Elizabeth‘s prognosis and the strength of her family.Â Â
Articles and blogs:Â
Thank You by Elizabeth EdwardsÂ
Quote: I want you to turn that compassion and determination now away from me and toward others. Â Either toward the particular others around you who need your love and support, because, I promise, your love and support is powerful, or toward the collective others who need us to fight for universal health care, or for economic justice, or for an end to this war. Â You can do both, of course, (please do) but I have to say how much I have thought about those collective others today.
Edwards Family Returns to NH (AP) April 2, 2007Â
Quote: As for criticism of their decision: “I don’t worry for me because we’ve got tough skin. And, honestly, having been through the death of a child, it’s just words. You want to hurt us, you’re going to have to do a little better than that.”
Quote: “I think that we’re foolhardy to not be engaging in federal funding of stem-cell research in the most aggressive way we possibly can,” the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards of North Carolina told a luncheon meeting of supporters at the City Club of Cleveland.
A Complicated Balance of Policy and Personal (New York Times, April 1, 2007)Â
Quote: All political campaigns start with a script, brace for it to be rewritten by unforeseen events and then adapt, for better or worse. But few, if any, presidential candidates have faced a situation quite like John Edwardsâ€™s as he responds to audiences consumed with curiosity and compassion about his wifeâ€™s recurrent cancer while still trying to push his agenda.
The Topic of Cancer by Sherman Yellen (Huffpo)Â
Quote: Instinct tells me that Edwards alone among the viable announced candidates could win the ’08 election by speaking honestly to a country that is starving for plain progressive talk. Part of his appeal is undoubtedly his remarkable wife. Her keen intelligence, her great warmth, and her extraordinary humanity show us how to face adversity and get on with the business of living. She is the true pro-life candidate. Trust me on this – the C word for Elizabeth Edwards is not cancer, it is challenge; no, better than that – it is celebration.
My Visit to the Edwards Campaign in Chapel Hill by be inspired (Daily Kos)Â
Quote: That evening at the party and the next day, as I volunteered at campaign headquarters, I had the sad but inspiring privilege to witness firsthand the strength, courage, and determination of Elizabeth and John Edwards as they expressed their resolve to continue to fight for the people of our country. Â Their love for each other was evident, as was their love for America.
John and Elizabeth Edwards by Michael GrantÂ
Quote: Reading the stories again, it seems obvious that John Edwards knows what he is doing. Both of them say she is going to live for years. John would certainly not do or say anything to throw doubt on that. In fact, it dawns on me, he canâ€™t. Love wonâ€™t let him. Suddenly I know exactly what I would do. I would support her. I would no more quit the campaign than tell my wife anything else than she was going to live forever. Elizabeth Edwards will never in her lifetime hear John Edwards waver. Itâ€™s the one thing she knows she can always, always, count on. She knows it, and he knows it. The value of that should be obvious to all.
Elizabeth Edwards: We also explained that it wasn’t going to go away this time â€“ and that prompted questions about whether I would die from it. John was honest and said that this cancer can kill. Then he said, ‘Everybody at the table who’s not going to die, raise their hands.’ They understood â€“ or I hope they understood â€“ that we’re all going to die and nobody has any guarantee of how much time they have. The only thing we have control of is how you spend the time, that precious time.
Quote: Indeed, this is how we personally would wish to face cancer — with the fortitude and optimism of Elizabeth Edwards. In the face of a deadly attack, she has chosen to embrace life.
In the Hospital, Mrs. Edwards Set Campaignâ€™s Fate (New York Times, March 24, 2007)Â
Quote: Saying she hoped to be â€œheavily involvedâ€ in her husbandâ€™s campaign, she said: â€œMy feeling is, if we gave up what we have committed to as our lifeâ€™s work, wouldnâ€™t I be getting ready to die? Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™d be doing. This cause is not just Johnâ€™s cause, itâ€™s my cause.â€
Catty about Cancer (Barbara Ehrenreich)Â
Quote: As for Elizabeth Edwards, all I know is this: When I was being subjected to chemotherapy six years ago, the one thing that kept me going was work. Every morning I would go down to my desk in the basement to confront the computer screen and the stacks of books and papers around it. I ended up not using the chapter â€“ on ancient Roman games â€“ I was writing at the time (for the book just published as Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy), but I desperately needed to be at least 2000 miles and 2000 years away from my affliction. So I say to Elizabeth, if I may call her that: Get out there, girl, and campaign like hell!
Quote: When asked during last Thursdayâ€™s news conference how they could stay focused on the campaign â€” and perhaps eventually with running the country â€” Mrs. Edwards cited her husbandâ€™s work on the Wade Edwards Foundation.
Â â€œHe has an unbelievable toughness, a reserve that allows him to push forward with what needs to happen,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s what happened after our son died in 1996.â€
Choosing to Live (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post)Â
Quote: Having shared so many triumphs and defeats, having endured innumerable rubber-chicken fundraisers, having shaken hands and kissed babies and done all the endless things a candidate and his spouse are required to do, Elizabeth and John Edwards had to make a decision. They don’t know how her health will progress over the next months and years. They could spend that time nesting with their family. Or they could spend it amid the exhilarating chaos of a presidential campaign, grabbing for the brass ring they’ve long had in sight.
Â Do they really have a choice?
Run, John and Elizabeth, run. Enjoy the campaign, every thrilling minute. Enjoy it together.
Elizabeth Edwards cheered by outpouring of sympathy (AP, March 27, 2007)Â
Quote: “You can’t stop when people are cheering for you all along the way,” she said. “It makes the private journey we are going through now easier.”
Article includes a video about the Edwards health care plan on the same page.Â
Quote: â€œI keep hearing people describe me as a â€˜populistâ€™,â€ Edwards says late in the six minute, seventeen-secondÂ video, which alternates between the candidate and unnamed Iowans speaking about their health-care worries. â€œIf being a populist means you feel deeply and strongly committed to regular people having a real chance and not getting run over by big, powerful interests â€“ oh yeah, if thatâ€™s true, Iâ€™m a populist.â€
Universal Health Care through Shared Responsibility â€“ The Edwards Health Care PlanÂ
John Edwards: â€œWe have to stop using words like â€˜access to health careâ€™ when we know with certainty those words mean something less than universal care. Who are you willing to leave behind without the care he needs? Which family? Which child? We need a truly universal solution, and we need it now.â€
The two previous multimedia diaries are on a range of topics, including health care. I have not repeated health care links in this diary that I included in previous diaries, so additional information on health care and other topics may be found here:Â
UPDATE! Elizabeth Edwards will be on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday.