- By Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio's Political Analyst
George Seldes, the great journalist who lived to be almost a hundred and five, said that if you live to be 90, the public forgives all your sins. In some cases, that certainly has been true.
Ronald Reagan’s policies fiercely divided Americans while he was in office, but by the time he died six years ago, he had become a national icon. But that certainly isn’t always the case.
And sometimes, people’s legacies might have been better if they had lived shorter lives. Take Jack Kevorkian, the apostle of assisted suicide. Had he died fourteen years ago, history would see him differently. He was regarded as a hero by many people in 1996. Juries had refused to convict him in five separate trials in which there was no doubt whatsoever that he had helped suffering patients commit suicide. Prosecutors in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties said they would no longer press charges against him, making what he did de facto legal.