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Funeral Etiquette

According to researchers, humans have performed funerals for at least 300,000 years. Throughout time funerals have evolved as our understanding and cultures have changed. For hundreds of years, funerals in the United States focused on the death of the individual, the finality, the negativity, the sadness of loss. But more recently we have begun to celebrate the individual’s life and the relationships, accomplishments, legacy and joy he/she experienced in life. We have chosen to ignore the small disagreements we may have had in life and only reminisce about the positive. We use music and videos to bring feelings of love. We invite close friends and relatives to eulogize our loved ones. We focus on the positive, the eternal nature of our souls, the joy, the memories.

That is, until recently.

The constant throughout this change, regardless of how we’ve chosen to remember, has been our focus on the deceased.  We’ve understood the purpose behind funerals is the dead. It’s been a time for the living to spend time together memorializing those who have passed. The word Funeral actually derives from the Latin word Funus, which means death or corpse. The very etymology gives us direction on the purpose behind the practice.

That is, until recently.

Over the last decade or so, however, we have been treated to another shift in the way we have chosen to celebrate the lives of the loved ones we lose. Rather than talk about the deceased and memorialize them, the most elite among us have chosen to use funerals as a way to talk about others. It makes sense really. I can’t think of a better way to remember the love and relationships and legacy of our dear friends and relatives than by ignoring them and instead focusing on people said loved ones had disagreements with in life.

That’s what is happening now.

Usually this trend is front and center in the public eye as well. At a time when our dead should enjoy a little self-centeredness in memoriam and be given the spotlight one last time, their relatives, friends and religious leaders have instead decided it would be more appropriate to give the spotlight to someone else. Ironically the object of that focus in the most recent displays of social ineptitude, have been none other than President Trump (it still feels weird typing that).  Meghan McCain chose to invite President Trump to her father’s funeral when she brought politics into her remarks. Al Sharpton (the ultimate political pimp) chose to shift the focus away from Aretha Franklin by slamming President Trump. President Trump was not even in attendance at either funeral. Well, that is until those who have lost sight of the purpose behind the memorial service decided to invite him.

Our funerals have been commandeered as soapboxes for bottom feeders.

Ironically, what these selfish people don’t realize is they are once again paving the way for President Trump to win. How many times have we heard the cliché “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”? Do our deceased really deserve to have the focus ripped away from them as every headline from the day we are supposed to be remembering their accomplishments and legacy and relationships, be about someone else? Meanwhile, President Trump enjoys the spotlight once again. When will these people learn?

So while the spotlight-hogs on the left have attempted to once again desecrate the sacred, they have inadvertently made their efforts largely ineffective in addition to being typically pathetic.

Funerals aren’t the time for political grandstanding. Funerals are a time to honor the deceased, console the survivors, and come together, if only for a brief time, to unite in the respect and celebration of life. As tempting as it may be to attempt to further your political agenda and widen the divide in our country, perhaps the memorial for The Queen of Soul, The Maverick and any other prominent American icon could be safeguarded from your repugnant selfishness. Let’s get back to a time when a memorial is a memorial, not a chance to hijack tragedy in order to grandstand. It’s not about you…

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