Yesterday, an old reporter passed away. His name was Jimmy Breslin, and he was a Pullitzer Prize-winning veteran of the smoke-filled sausage-fest copy rooms of the 20th century. Breslin was known for presenting sympathetic views of the "common man."
Upon his death, articles and tributes circulated around the internet. Many called attention to his most famous column, a piece written two days after the funeral of JFK. Breslin chose to catalog the emotions surrounding the burial of the slain president through the eyes and actions of the man who dug Kennedy's grave.
I read through that column, sitting at the breakfast table on Sunday morning. It was a beautiful piece of writing; the like of which we are not likely to see again, in this rush-to-publish, sell-the-soap, poke-the-hornet's-nest era of journalism we are now forced to endure.
Most poignant was Breslin's description of Jackie Kennedy walking down the streets of Washington DC behind her husband's casket:
"She came out from under the north portico of the White House and slowly followed the body of her husband, which was in a flag-covered coffin that was strapped with two black leather belts to a black caisson that had polished brass axles. She walked straight and her head was high. She walked down the bluestone and blacktop driveway and through shadows thrown by the branches of seven leafless oak trees. She walked slowly past the sailors who held up flags of the states of this country. She walked past silent people who strained to see her and then, seeing her, dropped their heads and put their hands over their eyes. She walked out the northwest gate into the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. She walked with tight steps and her head was high and she followed the body of her murdered husband through the streets of Washington."
His clear description brought back my own memories of that day. I was only eight years old, and yet, I remember. The television was on all day, and we watched the proceedings, live. Every minute. Young as I was, I absorbed the tragedy, and the solemnity, and the painstaking formality of the ceremony.
Half a century later, sitting at the breakfast table with my coffee and my iPad and my memories on Sunday morning, a thought occurred to me that was almost unendurable.
Since last November, I have secretly longed for some fatal tragedy to befall our hapless joke of a president. Honestly. And I can't be the only person in America whose thoughts have fluttered around this abhorrent and perverted hope. Despite the cyclone of all things crass, idiotic, dangerous and anti-presidential that emanates from and swirls around him every minute of every day, he remains essentially untouched. The sudden cessation of his existence would seem the only way we can possibly be shed of him. The very fact that he could induce me to wish death upon another human being makes me loathe him even more.
But when I thought about the pomp and solemnity and honor...the tragic beauty of the state funeral for John Kennedy, our last President to die in office; and pondered all that being put on for Cheeto Jesus...I nearly lost my breakfast.
Unimaginable. Unconscionable. Sacrilegious. To even conceive of that sort of tribute and respect and national mourning applied to the loathsome toad who currently sits behind the desk of the Oval Office.
Thanks to Jimmy Breslin, that old-school, cigar-chomping journalist of the last century, I no longer wish death on the SCROTUS.
Not unless we could simply throw him back into the sewer he crawled out of and let the rats and maggots take care of him.