When the PM offered a state funeral for Jack Layton, I suspect most were mildly surprised since the protocol dictates that state funerals are reserved for Prime Ministers, Governor-Generals and Cabinet Ministers. Nobody else, Opposition Leaders included, makes the cut… unless the Prime Minister says they do. But under the circumstances a state funeral just seemed like the right thing to do, and Harper rose to the occasion, in my view, admirably. And according to this Angus Reid poll, most Canadians across the political board agreed with his decision.
Enter the Partisan Knobs, in all their brainless, furious, spittle-flecked glory. (You all know what a Partisan Knob is, right?)
Shortly after the state funeral was announced it became the focus of feverish discussion by Partisan Knobs on both sides of the aisle. Some on the right argued peevishly that Layton hadn’t “earned” it, something I seriously can’t imagine them saying about a Conservative opposition leader extended the same courtesy, but oh well.
Meanwhile, over on the port side of the Good Ship Blogosphere, those in the throes of a particularly virulent strain of the brain-rotting contagion known as “Harper Derangement Syndrome” still speculate darkly about Harper’s Real Motive — the “Hidden State Funeral Agenda”. Because obviously there had to be some odious ulterior motive: Harper surely couldn’t have done it because he’s a human being capable of sharing a sense of loss with his fellow Canadians and occasionally, having the class to Do The Right Thing. Nope. The prevailing consensus among the HDS-afflicted is that Harper offered the state funeral under duress — it was either State Funeral or Angry Backlash, take your pick, Harpie… even though nobody expected a state funeral until Harper offered it. Huh? Such is the absurd conspiratorial logic of the Partisan Knob in full frenzied flower.
I’m no fan of Harper’s, but I do believe he offered the state funeral simply because it was the right thing to do. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile, and if it’s also a good political move in that it softens the edges of his cold, geeky image, so what? After all, it’s possible to disagree with someone without envisioning them as some grotesque and depraved hybrid of Hitler, Darth Vader and the heartless Tin Man (and it’s been my experience that those who insist on doing this, whatever their political bias, are usually covering for weak arguments).
When Jack Layton wrote about love being better than anger, there was no asterisk beside it with a footnote adding “*Except when it comes to Conservatives”. Something to think about, maybe.