Because John Dingell's life was so extraordinary as a witness to and participant in history and American politics, it feels weird to acknowledge him as a kind of great and feisty Twitter grandpappy--which is the way I will actually miss him. You follow some people on Twitter knowing of their contributions to politics or entertainment but come to admire them as people. I felt that way about the late Harry Leslie Smith, about Rose Marie, about Leonard Nimoy. I felt that way about John Dingell, who is his retirement took to social media and was a witty and incisive critic. It didn't obscure his congressional legend, it just reminded us he was still out there, sharp to the last. And still on the right side.
Recounting the life of John Dingell from his service record to his swearing in to finish his father's term in Congress, to his championing of universal health care, his participation in the passage of key environmental legislation, and his support for civil rights-- he tried to be on the right side. In his time, he evolved on LGBT rights. He was outspoken about the collapse of our institutions and the lack of education about civics and history, and the fault that lay in the failure of government to always be truly representative.
He was one of the good ones, and it is harder to know if we are sadder for his passing, than glad that we had him to begin with.