Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Pomp, Circumstance, and the American Way

Peggy Noonan writes a lovely little piece tying together many of the ceremonial sights and sounds of the new year: New Year’s Eve, Gerald Ford’s funeral, and Nancy Pelosi’s ascension to power. The substance of them aside, what about the ceremonies themselves? The ceremonies that unite us as a people and what they say about us as a people . . . these things deserve comment. She did not note this, but I could not help but wonder about the difference between these ceremonies of joviality, nobility, and civility and the ceremony of execution that took place last week in Iraq. If Iraqis want to know how far they have to come, contrasting these things would be a good place to start.

Discussions - 11 Comments

I’m a sucker for a solemn and dignified ceremony. I too noted the contrast between what happened in Iraq and here.

Sometimes I think God orders such things to provide such a contrast. I recall vividly the spectacle of Princess Diana’s death and all the wretched excess. At just that moment God took Mother Theresa away, creating as stark a contrast between empty human celebrity and true Godliness as one could imagine.

Both got the ending they deserved. Ford passing peacefully after a full life, Hussein violently truncated. btw, the name-calling doesn’t bother me. If an American dictator murdered 5% of our population, we might call names too.

Ford brought his country together. Saddam divided his.

Ford was surrouded by his loving family. Hussein killed 40 of his own family and turned his sons into monsters.

Ford died with honors and his country’s gratitude. Hussein died in dishonor with his country’s rebuke.

Ford gave up power when he lost. Hussein killed anyone who threatened his Presidency-for-Life.

Ford sacrificed his career to do what was right for his country. Hussein sacrificed his country do for himself.

I agree with Noel. Look what the Italians did to Mussolini, who was a considerably less bloodthirsty tyrant than Saddam. Nobody interpreted the killing and mutilation of Mussolini as evidence that the Italians were not fit for democracy--quite the contrary.

We live in a completely different world from 1944. I promise you that there’d be howls to the rafters over a Mussolini-style killing and mutilation today ... even for the worst of tyrants. That’s the effect of 60 years of moral relativism.

World War II could not be fought today as it was then, setting aside all considerations of the technology of warfare then and now. The worldview that exists today would never have permitted the death tolls, the overall carnage and the moral certainty of the cause.

I sense -- perhaps hope -- there’s a recognition of how far into the pit we’ve gone with this relativism thing. But it’s going to take a whole lot more death and destruction before much of this world wakes up and realizes that there is such a thing as objectively bad people.

About Saddam’s death, which I admit I did not watch, but in the hearing about it I was reminded of the scene in The Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch of the West dies. The soldiers who served her were simply delighted and broke into song. Where was the dignity of the dead in that moment? Why shouldn’t people celebrate when evil is defeated? What kind of ceremony did Saddam deserve - I thought it a pity he was not shot in the hole he was found in.

Pelosi focused way too much on herself, bragging how she "cut in line" and flexing her biceps as "the strongest woman in the world". Quite to the contrary, she didn’t bravely "cut in line". She followed the procedures laid out by those Abominable Dead White Guys, starting with the 19th Amd. Today of course, judges thoughtfully amend the Constitution themselves to spare us the bother.

Evidently she believes that women think differently and therefore will legislate differently. Congratulations, Larry Summers--your apology is in the mail! (where Bush is no doubt reading it.)

Pelosi has promised to wield the Speaker’s gavel ForTheChildren(tm). Except the unborn children--the gavel will be weilded ON them. Indeed, as the "strongest", she promises to grow the weakest members of humanity in petri dishes to be swallowed as medicine.

Those Old Dead Guys knew something Nancy doesn’t: "to secure the blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our Posterity"--not to secure the blessings of Liberty FROM our Posterity. Or put another way, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me", not ’Clone the little children so I won’t suffer.’

Is an execution a ceremony?

I think Krauthammer’s discussion of the Saddam execution got what was problematic in it just right, without all these contrasts.

Historically, there have been certain ceremonies in executions. Public executions could be highly ceremonial. Remember the bit from The Count of Monte Cristo where there is a very graphic description of a gory, brutal, public execution. If I recall correctly, the Count complains that the guillotine takes all of the ceremony out of the business.

Krauthammer’s article was good, and I was glad Julie noted it, but I thought he was most correct on the pitifully botched nature of the trial. And yet, for Iraq to be able to close the door on all of that has to be something of a relief to many people over there. It is done. Even if it was crudely done, there was certainly justice in it.

It’s nice to see so-called conservatives praising the Communist partisans who killed and mutilated Mussolini. Had it not been for CIA hijinks those same commies would have taken over Italy after the war. Ready for democracy indeed.

Yes, the Iraqis have a long way to go. I mean, really, how could they get themselves into this mess after the U.S., in its nearly divine grace, bestowed democracy upon them ("crowds" cheering fallen statues, purple thumbs, etc.)?

What’s truly amusing is to see, in the full video of Saddam’s execution (now there’s some "closure" for ya!), how he snaps back at those taunting him by saying "Is this manly behaviour?"

Apparently he shared NLT’s fetish for manliness.

Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Nancy.

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