I usually save stories like the one I’m about to share for Good News Friday’s, but this one moved me so much I kind of feel like I need to share it right away. Plus, it’s nice to start off Monday with a happy tale.
I’ve written before in this space about my buddy Konrad Marshall, a native Aussie and fantastic journalist who I worked with many moons ago. Konrad and his terrific wife, Nikki, moved back Down Under a few years back, and he’s now writing for “The Age” newspaper there.
This weekend he shared the story of Sophie Murphy, a special education teacher in Australia who was on a flight from Sydney to Melbourne a few weeks ago, when something very unusual happened.
A 14-year-old boy with Down’s Syndrome was feeling unwell, and laid down in the aisle of the plane and could not be moved, not by anyone. The plane could not land, 179 other passengers were stuck, and so the pilot, with nothing else having worked, asked:
“Is there a teacher on board this flight? Is there a special needs teacher on board?”
There was. Murphy, 42, is a teacher of two decades experience, now lecturing and completing a PhD at the University of Melbourne.
And how Murphy got this boy to feel better and help him through the flight is just beautiful. Read how she did it here.
“”Teachers get such a bad rap,” she says. “I was proud to go back there, knowing I could help. This is what every single teacher does, every single day.”
**Next up today, this may sound crazy talking about a 42-year-old pitcher, but Bartolo Colon might be the most fun player to watch in Major League Baseball right now.
I’m at best a casual fan of the sport, but whenever Bartolo does something goofy or incredibly athletic, I can’t stop smiling.
So Saturday night, when Bartolo hit his first career home run and his teammates and the Mets announcers went nuts, it blew up Twitter and made me really happy. (OK, Gary Cohen on the call maybe got a little carried away calling it “one of the greatest moments in baseball history.”)
Colon is just a wonder. God bless him.
**Finally today, I must admit that as Bernie Sanders’ chances for winning the Democratic nomination have officially been reduced to nearly zero, I haven’t been paying as much attention to his day-to-day interviews.
But he said something to Rachel Maddow the other night that caught my attention, and it’s something more Democratic politicians and future leaders should also be talking about.
Bernie said, “I think we have got to think about ways that the Democratic Party, for a start, starts funding the equivalent of Fox television.”
This has long been a sore spot for Democrats. Fox News, over the past 20 years, has become an enormous boon to the Republican Party, parroting out talking points, helping build up stars in the party by giving them tons of air time, and, sad but true, driving so much of the debate in this country to the right.
And Fox News exists because Rupert Murdoch, who has 84 gazillion dollars, decided in 1996 that he wanted to start a political cable channel that would put his points of view out front.
And it has worked incredibly well. With Donald Trump being a rare outlier (in this and everything else, it seems), Fox News makes or breaks candidates and issues.
And the Democrats, we don’t have anything like that. We’ve got billionaires, but not as many, certainly not as many in politics. And if we ever got a true blue cable channel dedicated to putting forth liberal, progressive ideas, maybe the dialogue would change a little bit in America.
I know MSNBC sorta half tried the last few years, and Air America radio almost kinda worked. But I’m talking about a huge investment, long-term, in a channel that would do for progressives what Fox News has done for conservatives.
Since so many people get their news only from TV, and since so many of our “mainstream” networks refuse to call out GOP politicians on outright falsehoods, I think a progressive TV channel it would go a long way toward giving Democratic issues the kind of “equal time” they don’t get elsewhere.
I know, I know, I’m dreaming again. But it really is a good idea.