A REFLECTION ON MY HOUR
WITH MARGARET THATCHER
Some years ago, when I served as Director of Public Affairs for Michigan’s Hillsdale College, Baroness Thatcher was a featured speaker on campus and headliner at a major fund-raising event. I was assigned to escort her through a tiresome series of introductions to what seemed an endless line of donors and other guests eager to meet Britain’s famous Iron Lady.
A long-experienced political personality, she smiled, chatted pleasantly, and pressed the flesh for more than an hour.
Smooth. Cool. A total pro.
When the greetings ended, and I was to pass her off to a colleague for the next event on her exhausting schedule, I got to shake her hand myself.
It was then that I felt the stiff and gnarled fingers, and recognized the unmistakable signs of advanced arthritis. This lady was in pain. Shaking hands was an ordeal for her. But you could never tell it from looking.
It was my small insight into a lady truly made of iron.
Rest in peace: Baroness Margaret Thatcher.
Here’s a bit of agony for those of us who cherish glimpses of sedate, sportsmanlike, highly civilized England in times past — the kind of impressions you get watching period British TV shows like Foyle’s War. Within hours after Margaret Thatcher’s death rioting broke out in celebration of the Iron Lady’s passing.
Mrs. Thatcher was always controversial, from when she was called “Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher” for advocating cuts in welfare programs, to her stands against trade unions, to holding firm against Argentina in defending British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. But so much seems to have changed in British life and character.
Winston Churchill was voted out of office after World War II, but can you imagine the sort of vandalism, looting, and firebomb attacks on police that followed Mrs. Thatcher’s demise?
“This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.”