The best human beings I have ever known are men and women who have mastered their tongues, and in turn trained their hearts to see others through gentler eyes. They truly recognize the worth of souls.
The darker side of human nature, fueled by the media's willingness to exploit it, encodes a critical edge in our judgment of others.
This week, in an interview with USA Today, Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, was asked to explain the differences between herself and Laura Bush. Her response was:
"Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job."
In fact, Laura Bush worked ten years as a teacher and librarian, and as a successful homemaker.
After her statement drew criticism, Heinz Kerry apologized by saying, "I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a school teacher and a librarian, and there couldn't be a more important job than teaching our children."
The apology was important, and I think sincere, but Heinz Kerry was wrong again in her assessment. There is a more important job; one that Laura Bush chose as a career -- that of homemaker.
Heinz Kerry's original careless statement created a stir because it seemed to reveal a distinction in her mind that being a mother and a homemaker was not a real job.
I want to thank all women who have put their families first and made their most important career that of homemaker. We all have watched as such honorable women shape young lives and better the future of our entire society by giving all they have to raise good young men and women. The strength of family comes from the sweet, inimitable talents of a woman who makes a house a home and knows the incredible power of a mother's love.
Such women sacrificed prestige, the lure of money, worldly honors, and the precious unredeemable gift of personal time to work the 24-hour job of homemaker.
Your work has given birth to what is good and real in this world. From soldiers to scientists, farmers to fathers, your careers have reared the fruits of freedom and happiness.