Saturday, May 5, 2012

Jonathan Frederick Will

I’d enjoy meeting Jon Will and chatting baseball with him for a little while. He’s quite a fortunate man and he sounds like a terrific guy.
by Charlie Leck

Yesterday, I read George Will’s remarkable, touching and beautiful column, Jon Will’s Gift. You should read it, too.

I stopped my reading from time to time, when something seemed to keep catching in my throat, and looked out the big glass doors in my study into the sunshine and the tops of the leafing trees. I’d take a breath or two, sigh, and then go back to the column.

Mr. Will wrote about his son, Jon, who was born forty years ago. He was born with Down syndrome.

“Jon was born just 19 years after James Watson and Francis Crick published their discoveries concerning the structure of DNA, discoveries that would enhance understanding of the structure of Jon, whose every cell is imprinted with Down syndrome. Jon was born just as prenatal genetic testing, which can detect Down syndrome, was becoming common. And Jon was born eight months before Roe v. Wade inaugurated this era of the casual destruction of pre-born babies.
“This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.
“Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go….”

Quoting from Will’s column out of context screws things up for it hides the beauty of the writer’s heart and soul as he tells this beautiful story of a son – a son who Will cannot imagine not being a part of his life and his very being.

I don’t think I’ve ever thought harder or scratched deeper into my mind after a few paragraphs of writing in a newspaper. Oh, my!

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