Fighting the good fight

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We needed 535 Charlie Norwoods in Washington.

How will we do without even one?

It came as a terrible blow, though perhaps not much of a surprise, that the popular seven-term congressman from the Augusta area was forgoing further treatment for aggressive liver cancer and coming home by air ambulance, which he did this week.

In an era in which the label "beloved" doesn't often attach to our political leaders anymore, Charlie Norwood Jr. truly is that.

Norwood has always fought the good fight - for his country as an Army dentist in Vietnam, for his congressional constituents since 1995 and, in recent years, for his own health. In 2004, he battled through a lung transplant made necessary by idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He began chemotherapy for the cancer late last year - and has apparently had enough of that.

How uplifting it was to see Rep. Norwood come through that transplant, acting as if his attendant oxygen tank were a minor inconvenience.

But it is the Valdosta native's down-home plainspokenness, and his common sense and courage in a time of guarded political correctness, that has so endeared Charlie Norwood to Georgia's 10th District. He speaks his mind, and he doesn't care who's listening.

He says more worth listening to with a borrowed lung than most of Congress ever has with their original set.

Just as important, he has been a warrior for everything American. He's gone to battle for veterans' health benefits, for a Patients' Bill of Rights, for private property rights, for small business owners, for border security, for sane immigration policies and more.

The former dentist took the spirit of Hippocrates with him to Washington: Congressman Norwood is about helping, but making sure he does no harm. He understands that an even well-meaning government often does more harm than good, and has strived to limit the federal reach into our lives to every extent his one vote and power of persuasion can.

In the process, he's bedeviled leaders on both sides of the aisle - because we elected him, they didn't. He's never forgotten that.

We wish more of his colleagues would remember that too.

And we hope and pray that the homemade 10th District fried chicken he's been pining for in this difficult time will do the wonders that Washington's medical marvels have not.

Comments (7) Add comment
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wildman
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wildman 02/09/07 - 05:34 am
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Charlie Norwood is a GREAT

Charlie Norwood is a GREAT AMERICAN!

dashiel
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dashiel 02/09/07 - 09:45 am
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Like your editorial, I also

Like your editorial, I also hope Congressman Norwood will recover, but as for needing 535 clones, I cannot agree. For six years now, the House has had a majority of rubber stamp Congressmen like Norwood and all they proposed were meddlesome Constitutional ammendments. I still fail to see the difference between tax-and-spend liberals and borrow-and-spend conservatives. We already have a surplus of both!

Michael Ryan
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Michael Ryan 02/09/07 - 10:34 am
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well, first: Thanks to

well, first: Thanks to everyone who posts comments on our editorials. I really appreciate your feedback. And I do read them.

Second, as to dashiel's comment that Rep. Norwood is a rubber stamp congressman, I guarantee you he's a maverick and does whatever he thinks is right. He makes his own GOP leaders prove their case -- and if they don't, he votes against them.

Thanks again!

Michael Ryan
Editorial page editor

brainyboomer
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brainyboomer 02/09/07 - 11:38 am
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Congressman Norwood has

Congressman Norwood has always been a great guy. He is warm and friendly and a credit to Augusta. Our prayers will be with Charlie and his family.

intheknow
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intheknow 02/09/07 - 11:40 am
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We all pray for Congressman

We all pray for Congressman Norwood. Even though I consider myself to be closer to the beliefs of the Democratic Party, you still must give credit where it is due. He is one of the few Republicans that I have voted for over the years. GOD bless.

lathy
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lathy 02/09/07 - 11:52 am
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Congressman Norwood is a fine

Congressman Norwood is a fine man and a fine congressman. He truly worked for the people who elected him and what he believed to be best for every American. My prayers are with him for a speedy recovery, and if that is not God's will that he will find peace and happiness in his final days here on earth.

brandond
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brandond 02/09/07 - 02:32 pm
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While I pray for Mr. Norwood

While I pray for Mr. Norwood and his family during this time, I believe he should resign. Rep. Norwood was elected in 2006, and sworn in in early 2007, to represent the people of his congressional district. He cannot effectively represent the Augusta and North Georgia area from hospice care in Augusta. Mr. Norwood is unable to vote, unable to participate in the committe process, unable to serve. For the benefit of the people he was elected to represent, he should resign today and allow the inevitable replacement process to proceed.

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