January 3rd, 2009

Hello Kitty!

18-May-1962 - 01-Jan-2009

my younger brother is dead. for a minute, thought i'd never be able to listen to music again. but picked up a cd & listened to La Bamba over and over. remembering that irrepressible grin.

his daughter first told me about hello kitty
her nose rubbed off her Snuffle's nose
that's the first thing we did together,
my baby brother & i,
write down Snuffle's story

The American Prince? George Washington’s Anti-Machiavellian Moment
{184-86}, Matthew Spalding
Machiavelli's Liberal Republican Legacy
Edited by Paul A. Rahe, 2006

In the end, Publius recognizes necessity — and the need for an executive who can address the requirements of necessity — but does not accept the conclusion of Machiavellian political sciences that necessity determines the course of politics. This recognition must be seen in light of the executive’s higher purpose, which is to preserve the constitution for the sake of the constitutional government and the rule of law. Thus, as Harvey Mansfield notes in his study of the modern executive, executive power in the American context does not become “an excuse for doing ill, but an incentive for doing better than what is merely necessary,” for “constitutional powers broad enough to meet necessities may also be strong enough to satisfy virtue.”24 By anticipating necessity, the American founders placed it in the service of a greater good.

In the end, the executive in the American regime, while informed by varied and numerous sources, cannot be understood apart from the nation’s first president. Washington was always an advocate of strong leadership and pushed for more energy and responsibility in government. During the war, he acted for all intents and purposes (both with and without the permission of Congress) as the chief executive of the nation. When it came to the new federal Constitution, while he supported checks on the president’s power, he advocated a strong and independent executive over the anarchy, gridlock, and weakness associated with the Articles of Confederation.25 An examination of Washington’s voting record at the Constitutional Convention shows his consistent support for a strong executive and strong national powers.26 “No man is a warmer advocate for proper restraints and wholesome checks in every department than I am,” Washington wrote to Bushrod Washington in 1787, “but I have never yet been able to discover the propriety of placing it absolutely out of the power of men to render essential Services, because a possibility remains of their doing ill” (WrGW 29:312). Washington was energetic as president and defended his prerogatives when needed and his position when challenged.

But Washington was also aware of the unique characteristics of the American executive: He symbolized a new government as well as the whole American project. The other founders thought as much of Washington, for they were willing to create such an executive only because of his personification of their ideal. The vast powers of the presidency, as Pierce Butler noted some months after the Constitutional Convention of 1787, would not have been made as great “had not many of the members cast their eyes towards General Washington as president; and shaped their ideas of the powers to be given to a president, by their opinions of his virtue” (RFC 3:302). Washington understood the presidency’s great potential for raising the moral tone of the government and the citizenry — a task for which he was preeminently and uniquely qualified. To John Armstrong in 1788, he expressed his hope that “those persons who are chosen to administer [the new government] will have wisdom enough to discern the influence which their example as rulers and legislators may have on the body of the people, and will have virtue enough to pursue that line of conduct which will most conduce to the happiness of their Country” (WrGW 30:465).

Washington’s understanding of virtue and its role in America’s new constitutional structure is reflected in his First Inaugural. Rather than recommend measures to Congress for consideration — he did no more than point toward the objects defined in “the great constitutional charter” — Washington chose to speak of “the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism, which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt” the laws. It was here primarily and not in the institutional arrangements that he saw the “surest pledges” of wise policy, ensuring that neither local prejudices nor party animosities would misdirect the efforts of the representatives and guaranteeing that “the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality.” This would prove that free government might be “exemplified” by attributes worthy of the affections of its citizens. Washington was moved to “dwell on this prospect” for profound reasons:

[T]here is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the external rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

[06-Jan @ 1:42pm] there's rusty, me, bishop & ceo (he'd love that). then there's gorilla & momasita.

picked up lax magazine yesterday waiting in baggage claim for bishop. read interview w/ kristen stewart where she said: "you have to take the piss out of [being a celebrity] and not take it seriously". thought that was generally sound advice. apparently, ceo is edward kelly to my john dee — they share the same initials. so i had parallel freakouts running. i knew something was up at 3:30am, january 1st when the phone rang. ceo's family were all accounted for except him. no one knew anything. wasn't until i saw gorilla around 11am that i finally made myself connect dots. when i asked how… "she did it". (she really liked mathematics, i'll call her mathema). mathema immediately went to police department & confessed. story appeared in LA Times: "burst of violence" leaves five people dead Thursday. her daughter's concerned about what we think of her. how can you hate the mother of children you love? we're hurt, we're confused, we're puzzled — and yes, angry. so, for mathema's sake (& her ongoing situation), i'll just talk about stuff in the public record.

bishop & i also stopped at cemetery on the way to my apt. when we were done, he called gorilla while we were walking to car. i sat there listening, turning off car when he broke down. bishop needed to get ceo's personal effects, no one's been in bedroom. this morning, emptied 3 boxes. so that's what's happening right now. planning to go myself & keep running inventory until realizing i'd get in the way. actually, it's the sibling thing & realizing my homeless trajectory thingy might get under the microscope a little. it is anyway since lease ends in april.

i'm just grateful that after bishop bumbling a request for me to clear up living room "clutter", i finally catch clue bus. he said too much & i forgot to stop listening at "staging area". useless discussion about the health of one's being when one clears up one's clutter (i'll help!) & that i seem to be fit to live in an attic fighting off roof-attacking squirrels in ohio. oh dear me.

seems like the family is successfully navigating the essential & non-essential tasks of living & dying.

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