Friday, February 19, 2016

Liking Nino

He's being buried today, somewhere in my hometown.  "Nino," his friends called him.

Antonin Scalia's passing was, well, it was kind of a strange moment.

Because, on the one hand, I disagreed with him about just about everything.  I viewed him as a reactionary, someone whose views...about the methodology for interpreting the Constitution and just about everything else...were remarkably, significantly wrong.  And about nontrivial things, like corporate power, race, and the rights of sexual minorities.

On the other, damned if I couldn't help but like the man.  And not in the abstract.  If asked, last year, which American political figure I'd like to sit down and sip a scotch with, he'd have been probably my first pick.

Specifically and because I didn't agree with him, I found him...likeable.  He had a sharp wit.  He was genuinely funny, in an unguarded, apolitical way.  If you opposed him, what mattered wasn't that you fought.  It was that you fought well.

Because as firmly as he held on to his beliefs, he legendarily did not let them get in the way of his personal relationships with others who disagreed with him.  That fundamental trait was memorialized in The Originalist, a politically nonbinary stageplay last year at DC's Arena stage.  He was human, and as a human being, he was complex.

Nino'd have been thoroughly entertaining to be around.  I just can't help but think that.  There are people like that, folks I know and like on many many levels, whose humanity I can't reject simply because I know how wrong...genuinely wrong...they are about things.

I wonder, in this age of media-polarized demonization, if that's even permitted.