Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rule the day

Rule #28: Let sleeping dogs Lay

Stop respecting the dead if they really don't deserve it. Some conservative bloggers are giving lip to their progressive counterparts over coverage of the death of Kenneth Lay. They accuse the left of attacking a defenseless person, and/or of relishing the death thereof. It's the same argument many Ronald Reagan defenders used in the final years if his life: "It's not fair to attack Reagan! He's too ill to defend himself." I've actually been told this, as if criticizing Reagan's conscious decisions as president is the same as mocking him on his deathbed.

Public figures understand that everything they do will resonate long into the future. In fact, virtually all of them are concerned about their legacy in some form or another. People dissed Bill Clinton for doing so, as if every person on the planet doesn't worry about their legacy at some point in their lives. I do it all the time, and I'm nobody! In any case, most people (famous or otherwise) hope that they leave something behind for others to build upon. They want people to remember them after they've passed.

But here's the deal: if I don't respect someone in life, I'm not likely to respect them in death. This goes double if the person spent their lives steeped in corruption or otherwise made life miserable for others. Like scads of other progressives, I have long decried Kenneth Lay's policies; am I supposed to just ignore all of that now that he's dead? I don't think so. The Enron collapse hurt a lot of people, and its repercussions linger large even now.

The facts about a person's deeds in life do not go away when they die. This is why we keep the people we love in our hearts and learn from the mistakes of those we don't. Everything we know about life comes from the cumulative experience of everyone who has lived or died over time. And I think everyone knows this, which is why it seems so stupid when conservatives try to use death as an excuse to shut the door on their more unsavory characters.

Indeed, death is often the best time to step away and assess someone's legacy. And I absolutely believe that everyone should take time to think about how people would remember them if it all ended today. Maybe then, the world wouldn't be such a hostile place. And we just might have a batch of departed people we could respect unconditionally.

Rule #29: Interstate Communism?

America needs a free system of domestic travel. I can personally attest to the health benefits of going to distant places, and I suspect that it would help the overall morale of U.S. residents if more of us were able to do it on a regular basis. Sometimes all a person needs is a change of locale to clear their heads and rediscover their purpose in life. Moreover, I believe that if more people transferred locales once in a while, the nation (and the world) would be more informed and better off as a whole. Sadly, too many people in dire need of such a vacation cannot afford it, which only makes the funk worse.

I'm not sure how we could ever pull off such a thing (though trains would probably be involved); but I have a feeling that we'd feel better as a nation just knowing that a travel release is just a hop away. Of course, this will never happen--not because it would probably wind up as a magnet for the nation's bums, con-artists and fugitives, but because the trains would be packed with "regular" people, and we'd see just how dissatisfied most Americans are with their lives. And we can't have that, can we?

Rule archive


Nick said...

Umm...I don't know any conservatives who are saying that Lay can't be criticized now that he's dead.

Hillary For President said...

Mr. Macgibbotney,

If you're intrastate travel idea is put into moshion, do you thing that I (and other American's, Mexican's, etc) wood be able too voat for Hillary Clinton for President in more than one lowcal?

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, check out this, which reminds me very much of past debates I've had. I'm not much for the "he's-dead-so-leave-him-alone" argument, particularly for people like Ken Lay. If you agree with that as you say, more power to you.

HFP, cute, but no. I'm not talking about perpetuating voter fraud, just offering the ability for Americans to travel elsewhere once in a while.

Nick said...

Yeah, that's one post from a guy who argued with you on another post. I think the percentage of conservatives who think Ken Lay shouldn't be criticized is very low.

On Dan Patrick's show (ESPN Radio), he and S.I. writer, Rick Reilly, were debating what is worse, dying of a heart attack or spending 40 years in jail. Reilly was arguing that Lay got off easy with his "heart attack." (Cherie and I believe he paid a doctor to give him something). Patrick was trying to argue that he'd rather be in a jail cell than dead. As for me, I agree with Reilly. Lay got off easy.

The leftist southpaw said...

THis is uncanny. I made an almost identical posting on my site!

Cajun Tiger said...

Ok...this can't be a good thing...I'm going to agree with you twice in one day. There must be a rip in a worm hole somewhere is my only explanation =)

You are right in that just b/c someone dies does mean everyone should be forced to change their opinion of them or it in some way makes them not as evil of a person.

Cajun Tiger said...

oops...I meant to say, "b/c someone dies ---doesn't--- mean" in the above comment.