Friday, June 10, 2016

We go home now v

After the too darn hot invasions
of politics upon our Spring, the
deficit of bliss has been feeling
to me, as any deferred sea voyage
felt to Melville's Ishmael; and I
wrote to a friend, that I wanted
to turn to envisioning very happy
things, really happy things, like
a sail in a kayak, at a minimum.

Such wordless things really do af-
ford le mot juste in riposte and
repair - not remotely in evasion -
of torments from our gratingly
self-important candidates: a grue-
some rapture in readiness to lead
representing, to our common hear-
ing, the nadir of being qualified
to do so. It was with sheer good
luck, I suppose, on hearing NPR's
Fresh Air discussing a new study
of Justice Brandeis, I was drawn
to the entirely serviceable one I
already possess, to remember that
what I welcome in an exemplar, is
one who will let one feel clean.
Not free merely from molestation,
but of humiliation, of scorn, of 
usage against one's integrity, as
if there were no health in us.

     To honor Brandeis, the faculty at 
     Yale Law School proposed giving him 
     an honorary degree. According to 
     Thurman Arnold, President James 
     Rowland Angell turned down the re-
     commendation. The following year 
     the faculty again nominated the 
     Justice, Angell agreed, but the 
     trustees said no. The 3rd year the 
     faculty sent in Brandeis' name, An-
     gell approved, the trustees agreed, 
     but the Yale Corporation turned it 
     down. Finally, in the 4th year the 
     faculty said yes, the trustees said 
     yes, and the Corporation also approv-
     ed. Justice Brandeis, however, said 
     No, having imposed upon himself a 
     rule against such honors.

His discipline will never be the
tenor of this election. Could it
guide one, then, to withstand it?

Melvin I. Urofsky
Louis D. Brandeis
  A Life
Random House
Schocken Books, 2009©

Michael Bidner
  Pont Neuf, 1990
  Potsdam, 1996

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