Our great friend and teacher Peter Schramm passed away yesterday after a long struggle with cancer. We took note of Peter’s battle last month, and have featured our exclusive conversations with him here on Power Line before.
Tributes are pouring in from everywhere today, from former students and colleagues and friends. As everyone who knew Peter will recall, this Hungarian-born American citizen fancied himself something of a cowboy, but that is not as unlikely as it may seem, as his daughter Bekky explained today in a voice that unmistakably reflects her father’s teaching and ongoing presence:
That my dad fancied himself a cowboy should not come as a surprise to anyone who has ever known him, let alone anyone who has had a conversation with him for 5 minutes. You see, cowboys love this country. They love the way the land sculpts itself into a complicated but perfect blend of mountains and rivers and fields of waving grass. They love watching the skies light up at night with a million twinkling little stars. They love talking to Americans, and learning from them, and just being with them. There is an easiness with cowboys that can’t be found in other mortals. They are comfortable in their own skin, in their boots, and in their purpose. They talk slowly and emphatically, offering deep wisdom to anyone who is even the slightest bit interested. They find an immense amount of pleasure in working hard all day for their beloved country, and then coming home, slumping into an old leather chair, and taking their boots off. That feeling is so delicious that few things compare to it.
My dad the cowboy has taken his boots off for the last time.
I’ve put together another eight minutes from our conversation from a couple years ago, where he reflects on being “born American, but in the wrong place,” and why, despite all the things going wrong, he’s an optimist. More evidence, as if any was needed, of why Peter was one of the most compelling human beings of our time.