The View From My Place: A tale of two funerals


From the website of Muhammad Ali:

What would you like people to think about you when you are gone?

"I'd like for them to say:

He took a Few Cups of Love.

He Took One Tablespoon of Patience,

One Teaspoon of Generosity,

One Pint of Kindness;

He Took One Quart of Laughter,

One Pinch of Concern

And then he mixed Willingness

With Happiness.

He Added lots of Faith,

And He Stirred it up Well.

Then He spread it over a span of

A Lifetime and he served it to

Each and Every Deserving

Person He Met."

They say a man's life can be judged by his funeral. The passing of Muhammad Ali proved this to be true. The G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) was not a man without controversy. He changed his name. He changed his religion. He had a big mouth. He was a fighter; man was he ever a fighter. But he did not fight from anger. Unlike some in the public eye he was not an angry man. He was a Muslim yet at his funeral speakers included a Catholic, a rabbi, a Buddhists and a Mormon. His eulogy was given by Billy Crystal and former President, Bill Clinton. World leaders all weighed in on Ali's life and all had nothing but praise for a life well lived; a life of fighting, not just for fame and glory but for the rights of all the disenfranchised around the world.

Ali was a champion in the fight against discrimination and the fight for unifying the world. He tried as hard as he knew how to spread his concoction to every deserving person he met. Through his actions, deeds and words he became one of the most beloved, admired and respected people on earth.

Contrast the passing of Muhammad Ali with the passing of Donald Trump. No, Mr. Trump has not died, but one day he will and when he does we can rest assured that there will be a Trump-eques like funeral; complete with scantily clad beauty pageant queens, greedy billionaires and a full array of racists and white supremacists.

One can only speculate who might give the eulogy. The opening prayers might be delivered by the eloquent Senator from Georgia, David Perdue; the man who prays for President Obama's life to be short. Would Wayne LaPierre of the NRA and David Duke of the KKK get into a pushing and shoving match at the lectern over who gets to speak first? Would it lead to fisticuffs or would Wayne yank out the .38 that's strapped to his ankle? Who would break up the fight; Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz? Certainly not George W. Bush, or any other world leader, as they would not be in attendance.

How long would it be before the pent up hate and discontent from the under-educated middle-aged white males sitting in the pews erupted? Would attending dignitaries like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly and Kim Jong-un jump into the fray or would they slink out the back door?

Perhaps Sheldon Adelson could take bets on who sheds blood first. Don't count on the odds being in your favor. Like most casino owners, Shelly's house doesn't lose.*

Undoubtedly the riot police on hand would be called in to quell the melee. There would be some discussion as to who would be paying for the additional security. As in the case of the rally in Vermont we could expect the estate to refuse to pay.

Two men. Two Funerals. Both men were fighters. Both men had big mouths, but that's where the similarity ends. One man's life ended in worldwide adoration and respect. The other life ended up bankrupt; not just financially bankrupt. Bankrupt on a human scale.

We should think about who we'd want to speak at our funeral.

*The deceased, Donald J. Trump, successfully bankrupted four casinos.

— Bob Stannard is a regular Banner columnist.

The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bennington Banner.


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