It began on March 17th, or 3/17, and ended with a dinner meeting between Kim Jong-il and Bill Clinton that was reported by KCNA to have lasted three hours and 17 minutes. But for me, the more intriguing coincidence to ponder on this first-year anniversary of Laura Ling, Euna Lee and Mitchell Koss‘ ill-fated expedition to the frozen Tumen River is the fact that it was on this same date a year earlier, in 2008, that Elliot Spitzer resigned as Governor of New York.
At the time, I wrote a humorous treatise about Spitzer‘s downfall that borrowed from the structure of a Dr. Seuss work. But it was a bittersweet missive, as I also felt that one of the brightest political lights on the east coast had been done in by his own recklessness. Thinking about Ling on this day, I am struck again by a similar feeling.
Before the trip to North Korea, Ling had begun to match the stride of her older sister Lisa and imprint herself as the face of @CurrentVanguard with reports such as “Narco War Next Door,” which remains as timely as ever. But with both her professional and personal priorities drastically refocused by the terrible North Korean ordeal, she resigned her Vice President position with Al Gore‘s upstart network at the turn of the New Year in order to focus on having a family (thrillingly, Laura is already pregnant with her first child, due in June).
Laura will return to the @Oprah fore and more in a few months, alongside Lisa, to promote the May publication of their parallel memoir Somewhere Inside. At that time, as we are reminded of Laura‘s vibrant voice, it will be interesting to assess how that voice has changed.