Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died of natural causes Saturday. My first reaction was "Fuck him, glad he's dead." I didn't know the man personally, of course, but I believe you can get the sense of one's character by one's actions. As such, Scalia exists diametrically opposed to everything I believe in. He was part of majority that ruled corporations are people and therefore their use of money is protected under the first amendment. He was vehement in his dissent to refuse same sex couples the right to marry. Most recently, he championed a delay of President Obama's climate initiative, which threatens to undo all of the hard work of the Paris climate talks. The guy was pro gun and pro God. He consistently voted to inhibit a woman's right to choose as well as spearheaded a decision that severely hampered voter's rights. Let's not forget he also helped the Court supersede the will of the people and elect George W Bush in the much disputed 2000 election.  This may have been his worst sin of all in my eyes.  No Bush means possibly no Iraq war, which means possibly no ISIS. So In other words, fuck Scalia, glad he's dead.

Later Saturday evening at a dinner party I hosted, I proposed a toast in Scalia's honor, saying that his death was good news for everyone with progressive ideals. My toast was met with a few uncomfortable laughs and one person saying softly, "A man is dead."

My reaction was one of "So what?" But I realized my guests were offended not so much by my comments so much as my comments were about someone who'd just died. Which got me thinking, why can't we talk shit on dead people? We talk shit all the time.  We talk shit on celebrities and colleagues at work, on our friends and our parents, on bands we're jealous of, or art we think disingenuous. But someone who's just died? A no no. Perhaps this is connected to an age old superstition inside us, some cultural moray buried within our collective unconscious.  But in an age of science and reason, isn't it time to examine this propensity and then abandon it?

Granted, if I'd invited members of Scalia's family over the night after he'd died and done the same toast, that would be hurtful and inexcusable. But I don't know them, nor would I ever do such a thing.  What I do know is Scalia was an enemy of MY state, and in the same way I'll be happy when Cheney dies, or Rumsfield dies, I'm happy he's dead.  Come to think of it, Scalia was actually worse, because he was still in a position of power to negatively affect my life and the lives of those around me.

I say, let's get over our puritanical respect for the dead. They can't hear us. In fact, I hope when I die, there will be people who say, "A toast to Ben Heywood. Fuck him, glad he's dead." It would mean that I at least stood up for what I believed in regardless of whether others agreed with me.

So I guess I have to hand it to you, Scalia. I didn't agree with you, but I can't deny that you did what you thought was correct, no matter how backward thinking, racist, harmful or misogyniatic it was. With infinite respect, Fuck you, glad you're dead.

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