Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Assemblyman Bill Nojay (1956-2016) and the Democracy of the Dead

    Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
Thus spake G. K. Chesterton; not what G.K.C. had in mind when he wrote it, but what came to my mind when I cast my vote yesterday for this winning candidate — Bill Nojay, deceased, wins Assembly primary election.


It was not only the novelty of voting for dead man that earned him my vote; it was his steadfast opposition to Benito Cuomo's gun-grabbing NY SAFE Act, his management of the Trumpening's state campaign, and his earning of this distinction last year — Nojay ranks as most conservative NY lawmaker.

Yet, we cannot overlook the manner of his death, about which G.K.C. had this to say:
    Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world. His act is worse (symbolically considered) than any rape or dynamite outrage. For it destroys all buildings: it insults all women. The thief is satisfied with diamonds; but the suicide is not: that is his crime. He cannot be bribed, even by the blazing stones of the Celestial City. The thief compliments the things he steals, if not the owner of them. But the suicide insults everything on earth by not stealing it. He defiles every flower by refusing to live for its sake. There is not a tiny creature in the cosmos at whom his death is not a sneer. When a man hangs himself on a tree, the leaves might fall off in anger and the birds fly away in fury: for each has received a personal affront. Of course there may be pathetic emotional excuses for the act. There often are for rape, and there almost always are for dynamite. But if it comes to clear ideas and the intelligent meaning of things, then there is much more rational and philosophic truth in the burial at the cross-roads and the stake driven through the body, than in Mr. Archer's suicidal automatic machines. There is a meaning in burying the suicide apart. The man's crime is different from other crimes -- for it makes even crimes impossible.
Nor can we ignore the "charges of fraud in Cambodia related to a $1 million investment in a proposed rice exporting operation gone bust" and the fact that "Nojay had been scheduled to appear in federal court Friday on fraud charges related to a $1.8 million trust fund he managed for a longtime client and friend."

We might be tempted again to quote G.K.C.'s "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged," but my conjecture is that the latter embezzlement was committed to cover up the former deal gone bad, the classic stuff of Greek tragedy. Through my secretary, I have three degrees of separation from the deceased, and know that he lived in Cambodia for two years and adopted two of his three kids from that country, and was a pretty stand-up guy.

His story could be the material for an opera, perhaps a rock opera, titled, Dead Man Running. It would begin with his suicide this past Friday at his family's cemetery plot, next to his disabled brother's grave and the future graves of his parents. This would be followed by flashbacks to his personal and political career, including his Cambodian ties and his local talk radio show. The opera would end with yesterday's posthumous electoral triumph.

Bill Nojay, may God rest your soul.

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