On the one hand, we're glad Cate Edwards has been kept out of the public eye. But reading about John and Elizabeth's eldest daughter is inspiring.
A piece in today's Daily Beast gives one of the most comprehensive portraits of a young woman who's largely stayed out of the media glare. If Cate's being highlighted now, it's due to the moving eulogy she gave at her mother's funeral (the details of which she arranged) and her recent engagement to her long-term boyfriend. But in a world where we hear more about the shenanigans of ill-behaved offspring, it's seriously refreshing to hear about someone decent, admirable and unentitled.
Cate Edwards has been through a lot: eulogizing her brother Wade at only 14; living with the stress of a public campaign and later the pain of her father's scandals; and, of course, her mother's illness and death. Throughout all of it, she's apparently managed to retain good relationships with her whole family, become a rock for her younger siblings, and achieved at everything she's done. Says her father's former press secretary, "I don't think she imagined herself to have superhuman strength, but look at all she's been through-first with her brother; her mom got sick, and all the unpleasantness with her dad...She's not a stoic-she's human-but she had a good mentor in dealing with adversity in her mom."
Now a civil-rights attorney, Cate has clerked for judges, logged time at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and worked for NPR. While one imagines her family's position might have helped pave the way, NPR's Nina Totenberg says she got the job on the merits. "She has no sense of entitlement, zero. She never said, ‘I'm Sen. Edwards daughter" and once there, was diligent and competent.
While we respect and understand the desire to keep a private life private — especially given what she's been through — this is a person worth reading about. There are a lot of great young women out there who we don't hear about; Cate Edwards has given us a chance to reflect on the decency that makes for a real role model. May at least as many read this as devour the details of Miley's latest bong hit.
Cate Edwards' Quiet Courage Delivering Eulogy [Daily Beast]