Obama Campaign Mourns Loss of Wes Grad
I hope that we can add our voice to the numerous outlets reporting the death of 29-year-old Wesleyan alumni Alex Okrent without losing the communal intimacy that this blog strives for. The Chicago Tribune reports that Okrent was a campaign staffer who had worked for Barack Obama almost a decade. His sudden collapse at the President’s re-election headquarters in Chicago yesterday was felt by those who knew him professionally…
…but most deeply by those who knew him personally, and who recall his time in Middletown as a stand-out political mind among his peers, with a highly developed social conscience:
The Chicago Tribune “In 2002, the Tribune quoted the then-19-year-old Wesleyan University student at an anti-war protest in Washington D.C.
‘The government is committing atrocities all over the world, and they say they’re doing it in our interest,’ Okrent told the Tribune then. ‘I’m trying to make my voice heard that I don’t want people killed in my name.’
Okrent ‘was like a fish in water’ when talking politics, according to his friend, Lodro Rinzler, who met Okrent in a politics class at Wesleyan, in Connecticut.
But the 2001 graduate of Evanston Township High School had much broader gifts, Rinzler said.
‘You could bring up any topic with him – music, technology – and not only would he know what you were talking about, but he would have insights on it,’ Rinzler said. ‘He devoured information, absolutely devoured it and processed it.’”
It disgusts me to write that the commentary beneath the Tribune’s piece became so vitriolic, that comments were disabled. In these tough partisan times, I imagine that amid articles remembering him as a young political talent with a bright future, Okrent would have been proud to be remembered simply as a college classmate’s best friend:
RIP Alex, beyond the acid of internet commenters and at rest in the hearts of those who knew you.