Ron Silver, actor and political activist, has died at 62. I admired him as an actor and as a political thinker. In my occasional conversations with him, he was knowledgeable, articulate, clear-sighted, energetic. Lots of energy: his speech to the 2004 Republican National Convention roused the crowd as few speeches by anyone but the nominees and (sometimes) the keynoter do. He had made after 9/11, as I had made more slowly some years earlier, the political journey from left to right, but he seemed entirely lacking in the hard edge of hate that so evident in some liberals and some conservatives. I sensed that he retained a certain sympathy for his younger, more liberal self and for the people whose politics he had shared but could no longer. And I felt instinctively that he understood things--understood politics and, more important, understood public policy and the importance of standing up for civilization against barbarism. Roger L. Simon has a beautiful remembrance of Ron and John Podhoretz has a fine appreciation.
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By Michael Barone