Screw the election. It’s fine as far as those things get you but the affairs of man bow to the affairs of life, the cycle of the seasons. The Giants and Dodgers were on last evening and LA took it in a one nothing game. Sad is life that we needs five months without baseball so that the other seven months can frame all meaning. I am also off to NCPR today to answer phones and deliver fabulous prizes. Again, there may be snow. My favorite single day off of the year and not just because of the trip to the grocery afterwards to buy things we are denied in Canada.
- Its session day and I am hosting. Not sure my topic is any good but the early responses are interesting.
- Coalition fret? Bow-ring. Glad it died an early death. At least I hope it has died off.
- By the way, the day the working man calls a hot dog “Liberal food” is a very good day for Iggy and a very bad day for the conservative movement generally.
- Ships seldom find themselves in the wrong place as much as they used to. Captains must have been clumsier in the past.
- Wish your April away, TV boy. You know you will. “ooh-WEEE-oooo. WEE-ooo-wooo.”
- Is April Fool’s just a prank? I haven’t pranked for years. If I should take it back up again, let me know. Told the boy he was late for church this morning. Got a “Dad, it’s Friday” from underneath a pile of pillows. My prank skills are definitely gone.
That’s it. The road beckons. The Session beckons. The 2011 season does, too. It’s going to be alright.
Even though we are freakish in our cultural fear of untamed beer and booze flowing through the land, beer is big in Canada. So big, as noted before, that no Canadian politician in his right mind would fail to support it. Up there, that’s Prime Minister Harper in the middle of this Federal election pulling pints in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He’s a big uncomfortable loaf of a man, clumsy with a beer bet, who no one expects he kicks back with a beer or two on the weekend.
Yet, as my pal Stephen Maher noted, he had the common sense to not finish the pint of the Keiths. Well done, Mr. Prime Minister.
I have been reading a lot this winter. Lots and lots of histories – mainly US but plenty about the founding of Upper Canada, too, though those texts are fewer and far between. Right now, I am reading John Winthrop: America’s Forgotten Founding Father by Francis J. Bremer, a book about the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony founded in 1630 a decade after the Pilgrims hit Plymouth Rock. It is a great ride, covering his grandfather’s birth in 1480 to his own death in 1648 and contextualizes his life in the ebb and flow of the state’s regulation of religious practices from pre-Luther to the lead up to the English Civil War, also the name of an excellent song by The Clash. But this is the key bit. The middle bit to his sermon to his fellow passengers on the event of their departure to New England from the Old World:
… for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a byword through the world, wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of god and all professours for Gods sake; wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whether wee are going…
See that? The new order of New England shall not only be a candle on a stand rather than under a bushel (basket) – but if they were to screw up “wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants.” That is a heavy burden but one that acts as a prophesy, reaching to today from 381 years ago. What was the way to avoid having “prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us”? Worship of those other gods, pleasures and profits. And also failing to make “others Condicions our owne rejoyce together, mourne together, labour, and suffer together, allwayes haveing before our eyes our Commission and Community in the worke.” Pinkos! I see Pinkos! Pinkos like me!
Next time you hear about how American was founded on faith, you may want to agree in part and note that what sort of Christian by which it was founded.
Hearing Justice Alito, at least a form of originalist, had dissented in the very difficult case of the foul mouthed wacko protesters at a military funeral had me running to read his words to see how he got it wrong. Because when folk who claim to a certain level of purity go out on a limb, well, that is when you find out what is really going on. And there is it in the second paragraph of his opinion [warning: .pdf]:
Mr Snyder wanted what is surely the right of any parent who experiences such incalculable loss: to bury his son in peace. But respondents, members of Westboro Baptist Church, deprived him of that elementary right.
See, no matter how awful and stupid the protests were, not matter how hurtful their effect… they did not trigger a “right” of the parent. A right is a relationship set out in law. Do we have a right to be left alone in grief and respected? No, because we should have respect at that moment as a matter of cultural norm. Decency. The members of Westboro Baptist Church were unbelievably indecent and, frankly, clearly have a higher authority to answer to in the Christian construct for their act of judgment. But there is no right. Free speech, however, is a right in the US constitution for which there are legal protections. To balance that, Alito needs to make something up which he does at page 11 when he states that funerals are unique events at which special protection against emotional assault is in order. Where does that come from? His sense of decency. Which is great and admirable and what we all wish for. But it is not of the constitutional order of things.