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A Quiet American Hero is Gone

Cenk Uygur: Goodbye to someone who actually cared about making a better world...
 
 
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We just got news that Maria Leavey passed away this weekend. A lot of you might not know who she is. Maria worked behind the scenes. She was champion of progressive causes, efforts and ideas. She was not some rich benefactor; she was a hard worker who did all the little things that were absolutely essential.

She was one of the people who quietly made up the heart and soul of a movement we all care about.

Maria didn't do it for the glory or the power or the riches. She did it because she truly cared. She believed.

On a personal level, she helped our show in countless ways and countless times. She always did it behind the scenes and never took credit or asked for anything in return. She did it because she cared, she believed.

I remember one time when she had us over for tea. She had gotten us into yet another conference and helped to set everything up. And instead of asking for anything back, she went out of her way to make sure she had us over for a little food she prepared. It's not like she was showing off, her apartment was humble and she showed us the old computer she got all her work done on and that always gave her trouble. And that afternoon we sat and talked about how important it was that the right ideas prevailed in America. There was no gain for her, no angle. She just really wanted to make sure the country was headed in the right direction. She actually cared.

These are the kind of people that conservatives sometimes make fun of, people who aren't in it for the money, liberal do-gooders trying to help save the world. I, on the other hand, can't think of a better way to spend your life. It's because of the quiet heroes like Maria that this country always finds a way back to the right course. The course of humanity, generosity and caring.

She never got enough credit while she was alive. And that bothers me. Maria is the kind of person we needed to celebrate before she passed away, before it's too late. She deserved all the praise and honor in the world. These days the Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to people who betrayed their country and led us away from our principles. But if ever there came a day again when we gave honorary awards to heroes who cared about what America really stands for, we'd give it to someone like Maria.

Someone like Bunnatine Greenhouse. Someone like Lt. Commander Charles Swift. Someone like Sgt. Joseph Darby. Someone like Maria Leavey.

These are the quiet heroes that help save the country when no one is looking. The heroes who fight for us when we don't even know it. And they do it because they believe in America and they believe the country is capable of a great kindness that it sometimes forgets.

That's why we all suffered a great loss this week. If you knew Maria Leavey and have anything you'd like to share, please add it here. Everyone knows a little story that others don't, so if we all shared it might help to remember her better. She was quiet on her own behalf, so I was hoping we can speak a little louder for her now.

Cenk Uygur is co-host of The Young Turks , the new morning show for Air America Radio, 6-9AM ET.

 
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