Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Certain Convocation of Politic Worms...

I hesitate to note the passing of Mr. Jerry Falwell. You can tell I'm hesitating - it's taken me a day to get round to a post! I hesitate for obvious reasons - never is Thumper's mother's advice more apt than when speaking of the recently deceased: if you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all. Nor is there any point, really, in piling on - he lived a long life, died conventionally enough - there are no points to be scored, and it is just as well. There are those who loved him, and they deserve respect; and none of us want to see our heroes abused when they shuffle off this mortal coil, so perhaps we should forbear when our villains go to the dust.... But still - insofar as a man's death is occasion for reflection on his life - he was a rotten son of a bitch, and the best thing I can come up with to say about him is that there are far worse, even among his fellow god peddlers. Pat Robertson? James Dobson? working your way down to Randall Terry, Fred Phelps - a vicious lot of sinners, poisoning the republic with their "christian" thuggery... they - and Falwell - make a better case for atheism than a hundred Richard Dawkins' could.

On the other hand - as Jay B said in comments at Alicublog, he did what he did and said what he said and apparently meant it, and did not weasel about it, and made a lot less headway doing it than he gets credit for. I refered to the New York Times obit for a reason, actually - it was sitting side by side (and still is) with this story: Bush Intervened in Dispute Over N.S.A. Eavesdropping:
President Bush intervened in March 2004 to avert a crisis over the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program after Attorney General John Ashcroft, Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. and other senior Justice Department aides all threatened to resign, a former deputy attorney general testified Tuesday.

Mr. Bush quelled the revolt over the program’s legality by allowing it to continue without Justice Department approval, also directing department officials to take the necessary steps to bring it into compliance with the law, according to Congressional testimony by the former deputy attorney general, James B. Comey.
That sort of thing, gutting the constitution in the dark, over the objections of that noted civil libertarian John Ashcroft - that will give you pause. Talking Points Memo, as usual, is a fine source of commentary on the subject. They have video, for example. And Glenn Greenwald, of course: this post will probably still be around in a year - discussing its relevance to the NSA spying scandal.

In any case: I'll draw once more on the bard to sum up Falwell's kind:

Indeed this counsellor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.

His silence is most welcome. Too bad for him, it has only come from death, not wisdom or decency.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I hesitate for obvious reasons - never is Thumper's mother's advice more apt than when speaking of the recently deceased"

Maybe. On the other hand, Christopher Hitchen's eulogy was whole lotta fun.