Remembering Andrew Olmsted

Like most online I only knew Andrew through his ideas, which consistently showed him to be one of the more mature, humane and independent voices in our digital town square. Andrew’s last blog post at Obsidian Wings asked readers to support a shelter for sexually battered women on a Native American reservation. His last column at Rocky Mountain News described a charity that Olmsted selflessly helped organize to provide toys and food for destitute Iraqi families.

Politically, more than anything, Andrew rejected the lazy thinking that goes with partisanship, yours and mine included. Granted that each of us thinks we have a uniquely informed perspective; we’ll get to that later. More to the point, though I don’t know whether Andrew ever expressed a political preference, and I won’t imply that he did, Andrew’s writing suggests that he would enjoy knowing that on his last day Iowans decisively chose candidates from both parties who embody, imperfectly if better than their rivals, magnanimity and an openness of spirit.

Here is another post on bitterness. I like to think that it would please him to know that in the first major contest of the season voters chose the farthest thing from it.

9 replies
  1. 1
    STEVEinSC says:

    As someone who detests the right wing, I do feel that people like Huckabee really can put themselves in the shoes of others and that he acutally has christian compassion for others of all stripes, and that is hopeful. One of the good characteristics of evangelicals is their rejection of racism and that in itself is revolutionary in my part of the world.

  2. 2
    Jay C says:

    Tim, are you sure you have the link to the correct Andrew Olmstead Blog post?
    This link takes me to a post of Oct. 30, 2006 about “Get Out The Vote” – is this the one you wanting to link to??

  3. 3
    Tim F. says:

    Tim, are you sure you have the link to the correct Andrew Olmstead Blog post?

    It’s not the most perfect example, but as one of the first posts that I landed on while looking for something else I consider it a representative sample. From the end of the post:

    Still, it’s hard not to be frustrated at the state of American politics today. We have two parties that differ only on the margins, both of whose raison d’etre is to get their hands on the levers of power in order to direct government largesse to their friends and allies, and like the weather, while many people aren’t happy with the situation, few are interested in doing anything about it. At a time when we are fighting two difficult wars overseas and when more and more problems are seen as in the government’s purview, it is disturbing to realize that the answers our government arrives at will be reached based more on the ability of political parties to get their voters to the polls than on the relative merits of those candidates.

  4. 4
    Michael D. says:

    Tim: This is a very nice post. Thank you for the links to some of Andrew’s good work.

  5. 5
    MJ says:

    I am surprised you didn’t link to his last post.

  6. 6

    “More to the point, though I don’t know whether Andrew ever expressed a political preference”

    Um, yes. Yes, he did. Quite a lot. In most posts, over six years, in several of the different blogs he posted at. It would be hard to have ever read him without having a clue about his politics.

    As regards other folks, we’re talking about Andrew Olmsted. “Andrew Olmstead” is someone else frequently confused with Andrew.

    Most of the comments about Andrew are here.
    If anyone wishes to add a comment, please keep in mind that his family is reading the thread, and that comments about politics or the war, rather than strictly about Andrew, are absolutely forbidden, please. Leave it here.

  7. 7
    fleinn says:

    *sigh* One less american. Who believed in what he did – not because he thought he could do no wrong, but because he tried to do the right thing. He’ll be missed. Very.

  8. 8
    bago says:

    You know, it’s things like this that make you wish people talked before they shot. To bad you don’t always get that option.

    Lost too many to the people in suits and trenchcoats.

  9. 9
    fleinn says:

    ..too bad war isn’t like in the movies, no?

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