Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Observations On The John Lewis Funeral”

All of a sudden I am inundated with Comments of the Day. This one, by Michael, is the most recent, but I am jumping it in the queue because it provides a provocative counterpoint to today’s essay on the John Lewis funeral.

Here is Michael’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Observations On The John Lewis Funeral”:

First, W. I listened to every speech,, every eulogy. I tried to follow every nuance. W’s presence and his speech were healing in nature, and I (am I alone in this?) believe that is why he was there and why he spoke as he did. It therefore moved me, but of course that is an emotional rather than logical response. Was it unethical for W to speak that way or for me to respond as I did? I think not, if what we are really discussing is ethics and not politics and ideologies.

What about Obama? I did not “like” his eulogy, but it was not speaking to me. It was a funeral, people! He was consistent with the spirit of Lewis. No matter what one thinks about Lewis’ merits as a legislator or his oppositional “stunts” toward those with whom he disagrees, there is little doubt that his reputation as a “fighter” for justice for African Americans was earned and is admirable. For Pete’s (John’s) sake, the 14th Amendment came into effect 152 years ago, the progress made after the protests of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s was more than half a century ago, and here we are; still trying to address (as they must be) racism, inequality, and justice. No, Obama’s speech was not out of place for a funeral. The primary purpose of a funeral is to honor the dead; and Obama did indeed say “what John Lewis would have liked to hear”.

As I said at the outset, I do not agree with several of the characterizations by Pres Obama but …. the fact that it was a media event did magnify what he said. Had it been a private funeral, it would have not been inappropriate — just as it would not have been inappropriate (perhaps incorrect but not inappropriate) for another speaker to deliver that speech. The one “celebrity” speaker who captured the moment was Xernona Clayton; a very personal eulogy from a 4’11” dynamo who will be 90 this month. Let’s be careful, in criticizing and critiquing the oratory at the funeral and the people who spoke, to not forget a few things: the civil rights leaders were brave courageous, their fight was just; that someone (W) speaks well of a man who did not treat him well is to be praised, not denigrated; that this was a funeral (!) to honor John Lewis…and he was so honored.

When my youngest son died, his brother honored a pact they had made after reading Speaker for the Dead, and spoke objectively but lovingly about the missing spark in our family. I know of no such pact here, so the focus on the positive at a funeral is neither unexpected nor unethical. I wish I were more knowledgeable and more articulate so I could really communicate as objectively as possible the interplay of facts and emotion inherent (for me) in the elements of this funeral. John Lewis may have acted — at least on occasion — in a way that was inconsistent with greatness; but he said great things. And by saying great things, he loud the foundation for aspirational acts. I wish I could understand everything, could simplify complexities and comprehend inconsistencies. Probably not happening. From Speaker for the Dead: “I want to understand everything,” said Miro. “I want to know everything and put it all together to see what it means.”

“Excellent project,” she said. “It will look very good on your resume”

16 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Observations On The John Lewis Funeral”

  1. A thoughtful counterpoint, but i would say that:
    “No matter what one thinks about Lewis’ merits as a legislator or his oppositional “stunts” toward those with whom he disagrees, there is little doubt that his reputation as a “fighter” for justice for African Americans ”
    sounds close to a version of “the ends justifies the means” and The Kings Pass. You may have not meant it that way, but I have heard both a lot lately related to Lewis. To borrow a phrase, he could have shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, and people would have said he did it for African American rights.

    • Not even close to ends justifies the means! Rather, a key part of his life is admirable. No “King’s pass” here. No suggestion that anyone ignore what is problematic. Simply, it was a funeral, and at funerals (unless we have the Speaker for the Dead) a key purpose is to celebrate what was good… if there was meaningful good. And there was.

  2. W’s presence and his speech were healing in nature, and I (am I alone in this?) believe that is why he was there and why he spoke as he did. It therefore moved me, but of course that is an emotional rather than logical response.

    Good Heavens. Alone? Are you kidding? There is a multitude of *yous*.

    Healing? What a bizarre concept. This term is used all the time. And it is absurd. In an absurd present. It must mean 180 degrees the opposite of what it is supposed to mean. It must mean ‘getting more sick’ or ‘getting worse’.

    If the term is going to be used with any degree of seriousness, *what is to be healed* must be defined. Healing, in the Newspeak of America’s present means something completely else. It might mean coming under the spell of a narcotic. Or, as you indicated, an overpowering emotion. Some strange sentimentalism that does nothing and will never do anything.

    Shall *the healing of America* be the topic of conversation? If so What is it healing from? This is where psychology has some relevance. You cannot heal unless you become aware of the ailment! The first step in healing is a longer process of realizing — of confronting — the nature of the ailment. A physical sickness is one thing, but a psychic illness is quite another.

    The nation — America — is in the grip of a psychic illness. That illness has to be defined.

    Was it unethical for W to speak that way or for me to respond as I did? I think not, if what we are really discussing is ethics and not politics and ideologies.

    If I take you as a generality — and you are not a generality but rather a specific person — but if I take you as a generality I would say that unquestionably, and beyond and doubt, you are thoroughly unethical insofar as *you* are part of the problem of today. And *you* refuse to see and admit your complicity. Your complicity — and everyone has a degree of complicity — is one of the reasons that ‘sickness’ is prevalent. This sickness has to be seen, understood, and confronted.

    What happens in a nation that is sick but cannot face it, nor *see* it? Well that is an interesting topic, glad you brought it up! Things inevitably get worse and they compound. Psychic ailments show up so oddly, so strangely, in those afflicted by them. The world looks with a certain fear

    The sickness in America needs to be confronted. That is an ‘ethical problem’.

    Are *you* part of a solution? Are you aware of the problem? Is it possible to become aware of the problem(s)? Is it possible to take action in relation to them?

    The conversation has to open to What exactly is the problem. How can that happen? Who will begin? Who asks the right questions? I do not think you are going to get them at a totally ridiculous funeral rehearsal!

    What about Obama? I did not “like” his eulogy, but it was not speaking to me.

    Duh! He was speaking to *another America*. The one that will replace you. And you sit there and you take it?!? You don’t even have a complaint?

    I apparently am dealing with people who are in a stupor. You are under the effect of powerful social and political narcotics.

    John Lewis may have acted — at least on occasion — in a way that was inconsistent with greatness; but he said great things. And by saying great things, he loud the foundation for aspirational acts.

    You could actually assert almost the complete opposite. What has been set down may be great rhetoric, on one level or another, but that rhetoric for whatever reason has led to a present that is defined by its anti-White character. Therefore, I don’t give a rat’s %^$ what he or anyone said.

    You cannot look at these things through narcotic, emotional lenses. They have to be seen through a penetrating vision. Not this drunken vision.

    • Unfortunately, “you” do not know who I am, what I believe, how I react, what I think about the unacceptable violence that goes ignored by the media, etc etc. “You” (generality?) leap to speculated conclusions. Sorry you think I am in a “stupor”….or was that really a generality that has nothing at all to do with me.

      • Whatever happens, don’t take it personally! It is not meant that way. I choose polemical modes of communication. It works best for me. But no offense at all is meant!

        I was speaking in a general way, and to a generality. It is an unavoidable aspect of communication. I think one *lashes out* in a way in all comments that detail frustrations or as I say ‘complaints’.

        I am convinced at this point that ‘stupor’ is a real thing. I have described it as a deer caught in the headlights of a car and unable to react appropriately. However, I do not expect you to have read much (or any) of what I have written.

        I am interested in your idea about cognitive dissonance:

        In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; or participates in an action that goes against one of these three, and experiences psychological stress because of that. According to this theory, when two actions or ideas are not psychologically consistent with each other, people do all in their power to change them until they become consistent. The discomfort is triggered by the person’s belief clashing with new information perceived, wherein they try to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.

        I am not sure it applies, or how it might be applied, but perhaps this is something to look into. Since I define (or propose a definition that has to do with) sickness — psychic ailment — it may well be that some sort of dissonance is a part of it.

        • First, “healing.” As I think you know — perhaps better than I — “healing” has many meanings. It is no doubt clear that I was not speaking of the scientific or medical definition. Rather, I was addressing the attempt — and I use that word advisedly — to start toward a reconciliation, to putting conflicts (past and present) behind. That, too, is a valid definition of healing…and I doubt that anyone fails to recognize those conflicts both in today’s society and in W’s personal past with Lewis. On cognitive dissonance, you appear well versed. I studied Festinger and his successors, including Brehm, very closely…but many years ago.
          I see both in my writing and yours ideas that are not all internally consistent. What can be done to make them psychologically consistent? Either adopt one and become more adamant about it, or “adapt” them until they seem consistent to you. There are, of course, many variations in this theme and those are not the only 2 ways to achieve psychological “consistency” and comfort…if indeed one is driven to be in a psychological comfort zone. I mention Brehm because Brehm has some very interesting things to say about decision making and cognitive dissonance. You may not be feeling or reacting to cognitive dissonance; I am, as I often have very different analyses of the same agent or actions, depending (probably) on the perspective from which I am approaching them at the time. And thanks for the response about fleur de lys.

          • Thanks for that. You have given me some names to look into. I think you are very right to notice and point out my ‘internal inconsistency’. Any conflict would be evidence of some contrast or opposition difficult of resolution. I have all sorts of conflicts. I do not know if I will be able to bridge them. If I had no conflicts — if we-plural had no conflicts — we’d likely not be here writing.

            That, too [that being “putting conflicts (past and present) behind”] is a valid definition of healing…and I doubt that anyone fails to recognize those conflicts both in today’s society and in W’s personal past with Lewis.

            I can agree with that, if it were strictly a personal matter. But it isn’t. These are meta-social and meta-political conflicts. I think that they should be looked at abstractly and from some distance. I write about this often but you may not have encountered my ideas.

            The conflicts in our present — those we see manifesting — will not and cannot be resolved. Put another way, if they are resolved it will be a fake resolution. Something staged for TV. It will be an elaborate *show* that had been scripted and ‘written’.

            The main thrust of the activism now, today, has its base in anti-whiteness. This has to do with supplanting a particular demographic. Everything that is said about this is part of a fake-narrative, a designed and scripted narrative, suitable for a TV presentation but non-commensurate with ‘reality’.

            Healing, as I would define it, arises from seeing (about s.o. or about oneself) clearly. So, I am forced to work within this arena that no one can define the problem. They refuse to allow even the mention of certain causes.

            Enforced ‘diversity’ is the problem. Politics and policies that have led to a weakening and dilution of the numerical superiority of Whites in the US is where the problem originates. I regard this as a core fact. It will either be faced, and addressed, or it won’t. My view about ’empowerment’ hinges in this realization. It is the precise opposite of how ‘white America’ is handling it. They do not have power in this sense. They surrendered it. Claiming power and also ‘possession’ (“this is ours!”) is a statement that is ‘medicine’. Not going down on one’s knees. Not begging for forgiveness. And further: lifting the table and overturning it! “This ‘conversation’ will stop, now!”

            This is where I think that healing can begin. But you must understand that I am speaking of something quite large — meta-political and I say. Something that pertains to the Occident.

            America is a disease in that sense. It is in a fevered state. It might not survive. Jack and Steve and so many here do not ‘bring cures’. They prolongue dying. But death will come.

            Diversity does not make stronger, it establishes conflict. The symptoms of sickness are what we see occurring around us. These have a complicated causal history. And quite literally the operatives in our present are operating a Marxian praxis. If one understand that, one will grasp a great deal.

            It is our ‘allies’ on their side that must come to serve our purposes and our goals. Not the other way around. I am serious. I am not just saying this for effect or because of its rhetorical intensity.

    • I am intrigued by the fleur de lys. From heraldry, or Catholicism, or British regiments, or French royalty, or New Orleans Saints….or just because you’re like it? Or, it’s none of my business and you choose not to share.

  3. Michael, Speaker for the Dead is my favorite book. Reading what your children did… I have no words, but they have my respect and admiration.

  4. Complete non sequitur, but did anyone else see the Jordan/Fauci interaction during the hearing today?

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?474168-1/drs-fauci-redfield-testify-national-strategy-combat-covid-19

    Relevant portion is from 1:23:40 to 1:29:00.

    Talk about a tale of two hearings. I heard that and I thought the message was both clear and well made:

    There is no constitutional argument that would allow the government to curtail worship that could not also be used to curtail protests, these things having equal protection under the first amendment. And perhaps in order to maintain the right to peaceful protest (the not violent kind), Democrats should back off on Churches in particular, but also other constitutionally protected actions.

    The Democrats apparently heard: “I WANT TO SHUT DOWN PROTESTS, WE NEED TO LIMIT PROTESTS, REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.” Although, to be fair to them, that might just have been the voices in their heads.

    I get that Jordan asked the questions, but the point of those questions was obvious: He wasn’t looking to curb protest, he was trying to make Fauci reconcile his inconsistencies. Let’s be real clear here: If, as Democrats are currently kvetching, Jordan *was* trying to curb protests, and he doesn’t have a point, and the answer is so obviously “no”, then why did Fauci squirm about the answer? Why didn’t he just say “No”? Because if Jordan didn’t have a point, that would be the easy and right thing to do, no?

  5. JESUS! All this yacking, about a Congress member’s funeral! I suppose the next big thing the leftist media will do is to televise nationwide a “Social Justice Warrior of the Week” puff-piece series. Time to refer to the remembrances for John McCain, and cry “RACISM!!”

    Dontcha just know there’ll be national telecasts of ceremonies, parades, and celebrity talking-heads yack-orgies with the renaming of the Pettus Bridge? JESUS!

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