Mr. A is quite clear on the instructions for my funeral. No church, no hymns, no speeches about eternal life. It’s what I did in this one that mattered, so have a big party, make me sound nicer than I was, and keep doing the stuff that I cared about doing because that’s how you honor someone’s memory. I get that funerals are for the living, but all the ones I’ve been to lately, wasn’t a single person there comforted more by the droning sermons than by the party afterward, so throw the party and forget the sermons. Play the loudest music in the place and drink the good scotch. You know, like our wedding reception.
For God’s sake, talk about my work. There were years it was 90 percent of my waking hours, years it was 100 percent. It was important to me. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. It was the fundamental reason for my existence. Sure, you can talk about what I served at that one dinner party five years ago, I mean, if you want to, or about the way my hair frizzes when it rains. That might be fun. But you want to talk about me? Talk about my work. Talk about what I did, not about how much TV I watched or something. Jesus.
Let’s have at this for a moment. I fully understand why wingnuts raised the drumbeat over Wellstone’s funeral, over Coretta Scott King, even as Reagan’s remembrances shut down Washington for days. I fully understand their desire to not every have a single second of a single day in which they’re not dominating the conversation with their topic of choice. I fully understand the desire to wrench a moment of national mourning away and turn it into a bludgeon. That is, after all, where they eat.
What I don’t understand is going along with it on the Sunday shows and accepting their premise that politics is bad, politics is icky, politics is unseemly, politics should be somewhere else, other than around the funeral of the consummate politician of our age. I’d like someone to ask Chuck Todd who’s a master of this sort of crap, and David Gregory who eagerly deep-throats every Republican wonder-weasel that crosses his path, and Tweety who surely will be shaking with anticipation at finding a new faux-scandal to which he can beat his meat, I’d like someone to ask them why they as political pundits don’t want to see people engaging in politics. What exactly are people supposed to talk about at Ted Kennedy’s funeral? Muffin recipies?
It has somehow become repulsive to most of America’s political
reporters that someone be engaged in politics, be remembered for
engaging in politics, be talked about for their impact on politics. I
don’t know when “political” became code for “you don’t have to care
about this, it’s all just theater anyway, fuck it, gimme another
donut,” but somehow it has. Chuck Todd talks about prosecutions of
torturers as becoming “political trials” as if that’s enough to
disqualify the idea. Politicians can’t have their beliefs or adhere to
them passionately, that “just all politics.” And politics has no place at a funeral.
If one of you doesn’t show up at mine and quote from my endorsement of Chris Dodd for president, I will haunt you all, I swear.