Aug. 28th, 2011 01:19 pm
bcholmes: (layton)

I keep reflecting on aspects of Jack's funeral. Speakers of multiple faiths gave blessings. The minister referred to his husband. And praised Jack for his work seeking equality for transgendered people.

Stuff like this is part of my 'normal'. My community, my friends... they accept this as obvious and right. And I almost don't notice how important it is that the funeral for the leader of a major political party would include these things.

bcholmes: (layton)

The full text of Stephen Lewis' speech during Jack's service:

Never in our collective lifetime have we seen such an outpouring, so much emotional intensity, from every corner of this country. There have been occasions, historically, when we've seen respect and admiration but never so much love, never such a shocked sense of personal loss.

Jack was so alive, so much fun, so engaged in daily life with so much gusto, so unpretentious, that it was hard while he lived to focus on how incredibly important that was to us, he was to us. Until he was so suddenly gone, cruelly gone, at the pinnacle of his career.

To hear so many Canadians speak so open-heartedly of love, to see young and old take chalk in hand to write without embarrassment of hope, or hang banners from overpasses to express their grief and loss. It's astonishing.

Somehow Jack connected with Canadians in a way that vanquished the cynicism that erodes our political culture. He connected whether you knew him or didn't know him, whether you were with him or against him.

Jack simply radiated an authenticity and honesty and a commitment to his ideals that we now realize we've been thirsting for. He was so civil, so open, so accessible that he made politics seem so natural and good as breathing. There was no guile. That's why everybody who knew Jack recognized that the public man and the private man were synonymous.

More... )

His remarkable letter made it absolutely clear. This was a testament written in the very throes of death that set out what Jack wanted for his caucus, for his party, for young people, for all Canadians.

Inevitably, we fastened on those last memorable lines about hope, optimism and love. But the letter was, at its heart, a manifesto for social democracy. And if there was one word that might sum up Jack Layton's unabashed social democratic message, it would be generosity. He wanted, in the simplest and most visceral terms, a more generous Canada.

And still more )

I think that it's clear that Jack didn't want a service emptied of political content. But, wow, am I struck by the power of Stephen Lewis' words.

bcholmes: (layton)
The letter was, at its heart, a manifesto for social democracy

— Stephen Lewis, commenting on Jack Layton's final letter

God. I don't cry at funerals of friends and family. Yet, standing in the open plaza outside Roy Thompson, elbow to elbow with thousands of Torontonians, watching the service on a Jumbotron... I wept for a solid half hour.


bcholmes: (Default)
BC Holmes

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