I’m just sorry I never told him that.
Quillen died on Sunday, June 3, the day his last column appeared in the Op-Ed section. The topic of the newspaper column was asking the question, “What’s “natural born”? referring to the idea that only a natural-born citizen of the U.S. can become president.
“If you were born by Caesarean section, or your mother took a labor-inducing drug, does that mean you weren’t “natural born” and are thus ineligible for the presidency? What about in-vitro fertilization, or surrogate parents, or artificial insemination, or whatever else they come up with next in the way of unnatural baby production?” he wrote.
At the end of the column, he predicts that in future presidential elections, there will be more discussion of what it means to be a “natural born citizen.”
I’m sorry he won’t be around for another 20 or so years to write another op-ed piece that says, “I told you so.”
I’ll definitely miss his wit and sarcasm. I’ll especially miss the columns where he debates his fictional friend, Ananias Ziegler. Ziegler was the coordinator of media relations for the Committee That Really Runs America and those columns would always put an interesting spin on whatever was happening in the real political realm.
I wish I would have written a fan letter whenever I read something that really tickled me or read a line of his that really sang. Apparently he received more responses from detractors than supporters, so he didn’t know he was so appreciated and admired by other journalists and writers.
We’re fortunate that Quillen archived all his columns and other writings on his website. “My job is putting one word after another, and so this site is primarily words — about 2,064,474 of them,” he wrote.
I hope you’ll dig deep into the archives. Then I hope you’ll reach out to one of your favorite writers and let that person know what his or her scribblings mean to you.