Louisville Ky (Storch Report) — They say Mohammad Ali prepared his memorial service long before his demise and I as one who thought he was a great boxer with a sense for promotion and flare for poetry did not think a reverent service for the deceased should be turned into a political extravaganza for all the factions given the podium, but unfortunately that’s what it was..
As the ceremony went on with one political message after another from all the political and religious factions and eulogies delivering their bias messages honoring a man, it came time for Billy Crystal to be on stage and said, ‘it’s half time.’
It was funny and it brought down the house, because it was only half time to a memorial for the building of an idol to be.
Before that half-time interlude their were Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Politicians, Preachers from a plethora of religions and beliefs touting their causes in the guise of an eulogy for Ali.
Politics reared it’s ugly head in a memorial for the deceased — is this the way it should be — politicizing a death?
Even Billy Crystal, one of my favorite comics, built into his routine a line from Hillary Clinton’s bid to be president, saying we ‘should build bridges rather than walls.’
With that subtle message we can tell where he was coming from.
That’s okay, I can overlook it because he’s a funny man and captures the essence of persuasion from a different point of view.
Keep in mind when persons are selected to be eulogist’s for famous people they too must keep their own egos in mind, for they do not want to be upstaged by the person appearing before them.
Billy Crystal took the stage and left everyone else behind him including President Clinton, who used to be pretty good especially at eulogies, but has lost his edge and his voice, and Bryant Gumbel, held his own.
All eulogists, however, glossed over the fact that Mohammad Ali was a conscientious objector while being inducted into the Army during the Vietnam War.
Conscientious objector for what, a religion he was changing to, or one he was leaving. A popular draft dodger, or one that didn’t want to fight for whatever reason — even though he was a fighter, or a boxer. In World War II there were the likes of Ted Williams who interrupted a promising baseball career to be a fighter pilot and many others in professional sports did the same. These were patriots, believing in America.
To this day what Ali did doesn’t sit well with veterans.
I often think of the names on that Vietnam wall in DC and the sacrifice they made for political decisions made by our country, and the decision Ali made as a conscientious objector — or draft dodger — and now the juxtaposition of all of this and its perception makes him into an Idol. This is wrong and certainty doesn’t make him a patriot.
As those who were behind the scenes recognizing Ali’s potential as a boxer in those early days in Louisville and cashing in on same, I am sure their are now those recognizing in death his potential as an Idol and the cash it might bring to his estate and once again cashing in on it.
Nevertheless, RIP Mohammad Ali.