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Meanings in memorials

I am not very good at being good, so I think. Good means accepting and forgiving and I find it hard much of the time to be either. Recent memorial services for famous people remind me of what I really do not need much reminding of, those for John McCain and Aretha Franklin. McCain’s was so much about praise for a hero that I had to wonder if some people had forgotten what should not be forgotten, thought and behavior that brings harm to others, to others who should not receive the kind of treatment certain thinking and behavior responsible for pain they suffer in real time of real affect. I heard no weighing of heroic against what I understand to be humane, the message being broadcast that bad is cancelled out by good even if, in a lifetime, the bad hurts more people than the good helps.
 
Aretha’s memorial today was graced by wonderful people saying wonderful things, a good many of which I understood to be true, truly good and righteous. The religious part bothered me terribly. I could not be accepting of the role of some lord almighty even though it seems true that the person for whom the memorial was being held held beliefs in just such an almighty. That was her life and it did not interfere with her singing like no one else could sing and maybe singing so well because she believed.
 
But those who came to the stage to give praise to God, who put God center stage not only annoyed me but gave rise to anger for what they were doing to public consciousness, to a public consciousness that has undermined the possibility of a democracy based in the good sense of the citizenry because a good portion of the citizenry believes that forces other than human ones are responsible for what human beings do and determine what humans can and cannot do to make better the quality of the lives they live, non-human forces that justify and, therefore make possible and even probable actions upon others and the world that are not born of rationality and, therefore, understood to be right and righteous even though they are not, this because they are ultimately of the gods’ doing and not of the decisions of human beings capable of thinking for themselves who understand responsibility because the decisions they make are of their own making.
 
So, I watched and listened, liked some of the speeches–loved some of the remembrances, laughed at the funny moments recalled, appreciated the wit and the eloquence when such were present, but was very much concerned at the larger messages being broadcast and the implications for the future of humanity and the planet.

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