I believe the best profile stories are more than capsule biographies. The best profiles convey enough of the subject’s personality and experience to indicate how he or she will deal with some problem here and now, a problem that gives the reporter an opportunity to provide real insight into the person’s values and way of thinking. Depending on who the subject is, the problem may be as mundane as trying to decide where to eat dinner. It may be much larger, like how to change the world.
With that, we present writer Jordan Howell’s “The Moral Logic of Chris Coons.” Though it seems our junior U.S. senator, with no end of concerns about the actions of the new president, was ubiquitous in the media after the change of administration last year, he was no mere partisan or critic. It certainly could have seemed otherwise, but as Jordan does yeoman work of explaining, a deep ethic underlies Coons’ personal philosophy and his service.
I am glad to learn it. Though many of us know Coons graduated from both Yale Law School and Yale Divinity School—a fact I assume carries real weight with some voters—it is likely few of us know why. As it turns out, his motivations translate directly to his dedication to service. Jordan’s profile provides insight not only into the public servant, but, through a résumé of his service, into the man.
The strong implication: Our shared humanity is what that matters most to the senator. And though politicians have blathered thusly since time out of mind, Jordan’s profile gives reasons for believing that Coons is sincere. Coons’ academic pedigree, on the other hand, could be seen to breed the sort of privilege that creates an academic, elitist liberalism that views from afar the problems it concerns itself with most, an ideology that stems from anything but lived experience—a kind of liberalism that is so obnoxious to even modest conservatives. Again, Jordan’s reporting goes beyond the surface, gives reasons to resist such labeling.
So why write about Coons now? Simply put, his media profile has made him a national figure in a way most U.S. senators are not (no offense intended, Joe), and remarkably early in his career. We wanted to know more—not where he stands on the issues, but how he thinks about them. In a Congress that is more polarized than ever, we wondered: Are his positions political, or is there something more behind them?
You’ll judge for yourself, of course, but I believe the story will provide a way of understanding the difference between politics and politicians, between the persona and the person. In a mid-term election year with the highest stakes in decades, it would be helpful to get to know all of our officials and candidates at least that well.
—Mark Nardone • Executive Editor
CORRECTION: The following was omitted from the Top Nurses list in the May issue: Margaret C. DeAngelis, RN, ADN, Clinical Nurse, III/ Stepdown Unit, Beebe Healthcare, for inpatient nursing.