I had a lovely lunch with seven Ashbrooks today (I mean Ashbrook alumns, but, as with the Marines, once an Ashbrook, always an Ashbrook) at a Greek restaurant near DuPont Circle. I havent seen most of them in years. They work at think tanks, for senators, for congressmen, for congressional committees, for the White House; and the successful one is a banker! What a great bunch of folks. Still smart, still enlivened, still meaning to do the good in the world.
I want to make clear that I take no real responsibility for their education, although I am proud to have been associated with them in their youth. They are--to speak truly--all self-educated in the best and oldest sense of that term. My colleagues and I may have introduced them to a few good things while they were in college, but they are the ones that tasted and chewed the food. We just placed it in front of them, after lighting the fire. Their opinions were formed--to paraphrase Churchill--through those processes of youthful discussion that takes place at the Ashbrook Center, and should take place at any good university. They were always ready to learn (although sometimes didnt like being taught!). They continue to think and talk and act according to their best lights and they do it all in a friendly and open and amusing way. They are tough and persitent and smart and know that in the end all will be well. I love them. And I thank them.