Saturday, January 14, 2006

more on "the senator"

I went to a memorial service for Senator Eugene McCarthy at the National Cathedral this morning. I read about it in the Post yesterday and decided that a) I had never been to the Cathedral, but had been wanting to go, b) Bill Clinton was speaking at the service and I am not one to turn down a little quality time with Bill and c) I'm still embarrassed that I didn't know who McCarthy was when I first heard that he had died.

Highlights/lowlights from the morning: watching Ted Kennedy shuffle to his seat and thinking about the merits of dying young and beautiful; listening to "Amazing Grace" being played
on bagpipe during the initial procession and getting a little weepy; giggling at the crew of old ladies bussed in from the Georgetown Nursing Home (where McCarthy spent his final years) when they jumped in response to the opening drum beat from Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man"; overhearing the proud singing of the lesbian couple (and serious Peter Yarrow -- Peter, Paul and Mary -- fans) behind us who defiantly changed the line in "America" to "G-d shed HER grace on thee"; thinking Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) was going to take his time at the podium to rip President Bush a new a**hole and realizing he was just reading criticisms that McCarthy had lobbed at President Johnson for his handling of the war in Vietnam and, well sure, he was going to take the chance to rip Bush a new a**hole; and seeing Clinton-hater Christopher Hitchens skulking next to a column watching Bill give his tribute to the senator.

And then, of course, there was Bill. Elvis with a white pompadour and a pretty blue tie.

What a rock star.

For all of the mourning Redskins fans out there, Oberstar quoted this line from McCarthy (also an apparent Redskins fan):

"Politics is like football. You need to be smart enough to know it's just a game and dumb enough to think it's important."

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