My post yesterday on Jerry Falwell's death was more of an announcement of fact that an examination of either Jerry Falwell or my thoughts and feelings on his passing. This was due to the fact that I was having a great deal of trouble figuring out what, exactly, my thoughts and feelings were on his passing.
Just a few hours after I learned that Rev. Falwell was dead, I learned that two very good friends of my in-laws were involved in a terrible car crash just three miles from their son's graduation ceremony in Connecticut. The mother was killed and the father will never walk again.
When death comes after a long illness or at great age, it doesn't decrease our sorrow even if it does decrease the shock. Just like my all those who knew my family friends traveling to Connecticut, the friends and family of Rev. Falwell were undoubtedly shocked and profoundly saddened to learn that Rev. Falwell was gone.
Many people around the Liberal Blogosphere rejoiced upon hearing that Jerry Falwell was dead. Many illusions to the movie "The Wizard of Oz" were made. I get that. This man harbored great hatred for people like me and people I love. He was a hateful bigot. People had no problem calling him out on that and noting that the world was a better place without him. I get that too.
Other people were quick to mumble things about sympathy for the family and left it at that. Some people took a middle ground, noting that the world was a better place without Jerry Falwell but they expressed sympathy for the family.
I don't know which approach is the correct one - let alone the right one.
It is a disservice to history to gloss over the hatred and bigotry that this man brought into politics, society, and religion. At the same time, it is unseemly to be gleeful about this - or any - person's death. Our counterparts on the Right have no problem wishing death on those who they disagree with. They have no problems taking great pleasure in the deaths of their opponents, gleefully telling us how sure they are that all dead liberals go to hell. We should not be like them.
I've had a hard time feeling anything about Jerry Falwell's death. I feel no sadness. I feel no sense of loss. No sorrow, no regret. Nothing. On an intellectual level, I realize that his being gone is a 'good' thing.
In the end, I'm simply going to say this: Jerry Falwell's passing provides us an opportunity to remind people how much of a bad man that he was and how his movement and his allies have poisoned our country.
I'll leave it at that...