A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

John Paul II

I have very little personal basis for a genuine eulogy of the pope and I have reservations about the conventional expressions of sorrow, praise of a holy life lived well, and reiteration of a profound influence on the world--even though both of these are true. I wonder whether those indulging in such conventions, particularly when they are not Catholics themselves, felt very much of that holiness and that influence personally.

Quite honestly, I did not, nor would I expect to. But what I did experience is the presence of the pope as, if you will, a character in my autobiography, present in the distance, active on the news, noteworthy in the world. In my lifetime, of all the popes of the past half century, only John Paul II and John XXIII rose to such a presence.

I remember reading of the death and funeral of John XXIII in Life magazine. The weekly picture magazine form, which nobody younger than I knows very much of in the fast flowing stream of time, did a better job of covering this recurring event than our fleeting electronic media ever will. I remember literally spending hours pouring over the magnificent still pictures, some as large as 11"x 14" (the old Life's size limit), not because John XXIII had much real personal meaning for me, but because the pictures themselves were, as always in Life, a glimpse into a different world.

We cannot so linger over CNN or Fox News today. I doubt if anyone would want to.

John Paul's death was a good death and his life was a good life. I can say no more and wonder if we really need to say more. Perhaps his flock, whom he did shepherd well, I think, can do so. Perhaps only they should do so.


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