Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

April 15, 2013

Heartsill Report: Remembering Margaret Thatcher

Des Moines —

Earlier this week, I had the honor of participating in the Legislative Memorial Choir.  Just to clarify, I was not chosen for my vocal talent, but rather there was a need for more male voices particularly in the bass section.  I was honored to participate nonetheless.

This memorial service remembered former legislators who have passed on since the last General Assembly.  Many who participated in the memorial service – candle lighters, readers, and choir – were current senators and representatives.  It was a very special memorial service for me as I happened to personally know one of the deceased representatives and the family members of another.

One thing which was very apparent for all who participated was the level of respect for those former office holders regardless of party affiliation or political ideology.  It was especially meaningful to have current legislators of opposing parties put aside their political differences for a time and give honor to those who have gone before us in the Legislature.

Speaking of memorials, this past week also witnessed the passing of one the 20th Century’s greatest world leaders, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  It should come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of the legacy and leadership of Prime Minister Thatcher (much like I am of her American counterpart, Ronald Reagan).

Margaret Thatcher was known as the “Iron Lady”.  I suppose that moniker is apropos as she possessed one particular quality that is absent in most political leaders: nerves of steel.  While at the same time, her manner and conduct was that of a proper British lady.  It would behoove us to take note of this impeccable combination of qualities in a statesman.  They rarely come around in our lifetime.

Having just experienced the Iowa Legislative Memorial Service, I was completely shocked and dismayed to learn of the disrespectful reaction by the British people upon the death of one of their own great leaders.  As I watched the news accounts of these “death party” demonstrations on television, I observed that many of the people “celebrating” didn’t appear to be old enough to have either lived under or personally remember the rule of Margaret Thatcher.   Where did all this hate and vitriol come from?  They must have learned it from somewhere.  Perhaps the British education system is responsible for poisoning these young minds.  Whoever the culprit may be, I think it is a shame and disgrace on the people of Britain.

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