People & Places

Best Citizen 

John Danforth

Years ago they asked John Danforth why he chose to join the Republican Party. His reply: "For the same reason you sometimes choose which movie to see. [It's] the one with the shortest line." These days our former three-term U.S. Senator and onetime U.N. ambassador is looking for a much better reason to stick with the GOP, short line notwithstanding. In recent months the 69-year-old Danforth has sparked a bit of a political firestorm by calling for his party to eschew any takeover by Christian fundamentalists and instead return to its more moderate roots. "[The Christian right's] problem is they have such a degree of certainty and lack of humility in taking that position that it's accepted as: "Our agenda is God's agenda,'" he told the Riverfront Times last month. But we don't tap a person as "Best Citizen" for displaying a modicum of political courage. Danforth is also working hard to make St. Louis a better city, taking concrete steps to inject civic pride and a sense of life into the languishing Arch grounds -- pledging $150 million from his family's foundation (which he chairs) to do just that. Next movie's on us, Senator.

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