Thursday, September 11, 2003

Thoughts I posted last year, that still seem right to me

Is there a connection between the death of good rhetoric and the emphasizing of emotion in the public sphere? Where is the inspiring oratory? The memorable phrase? "Let's roll" is powerful not for what it says, but the context in which it was spoken. Last night the President's really good line about failed ideologies and lies was replayed, and I thought, "what a good explanation that was," but this morning I still can't recite the line, even approximately.

Perhaps the dearth of Ciceros and Platos, Shuberts and Beethovens is a function of a complacent society, rather than emoting-as-national-pastime, but it is frustrating.

* * *

Please don't wallow today. Go serve meals at a soup kitchen, or make a donation to a charity that provides treatment for the mentally ill. Clean out your closet and give the leftovers to St. Vincent de Paul. Victory over the darkness will not come on the battlefield (however necessary the battle) but in our hearts. "If today you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your heart" says the Psalmist. Today, please don't wait to hear the voice of the Lord;go be it.

* * *

I suspect this song was sung at many memorial services last fall. It is not a hymn, but it is a fitting way to remember those who gave their lives.

The Parting Glass

Of all the money that e'er I spent
I've spent it in good company
And all the harm that ever I did
Alas it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit
To memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had
They're sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had
They'd wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all


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