You know, I could say a few things about Bill Clinton – and yes some of them would even be about the peace and prospertiy that he had at least some role in creating for America – but right now, I’ll just say this:

Hillary and Bill and Trump are right. So are the Obamas, of course.

Aretha Franklin is gone. People grew up whose lives changed as they listened to her music. Whose lives were changed by her music. They all will be mourning her passing. She helped change the world. So when Bill Clinton tweets:

Like people all around the world, Hillary and I are thinking about Aretha Franklin tonight & listening to her music that has been such an important part of our lives the last 50 years. We hope you’ll lift her up by listening and sharing her songs that have meant the most to you.

He’s right tonight and while his tweet is too perfectly constructed, it is certainly heartfelt. Clinton is a pretty competent saxophonist and any musician has to appreciate the powerful beauty of Aretha Franklin’s work.

President Trump’s comments before a Cabinet meeting were a little rambling and were about him as well as Aretha, but they were just as heartfelt. And his tweet was actuallly presidential:

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is dead. She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice. She will be missed!

But just wait. Here’s Hillary’s tweet:

Mourning the loss today of @Aretha Franklin who shared her spirit and talent with the world. She deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts. Rest in eternal peace, my friend.

You can feel it coming, can’t you? Right now tweets are being put together that will savage the President and praise MeToo and lament that Trump wasn’t MeToo’ed during the campaign. Why did they have to wait so long to publish the Harvey Weinstein story?? They will yell. And Aretha’s ghost will be raised in order to attack old white men – like a Shakespearean tragedy on amphetamines.

The Obama’s avoided this trap with their elegant and sweeping tribute:

Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade — our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect

But others won’t be so balanced, one fears.

This is not a comment on Aretha Franklin’s personal political views. One need not wonder if she was a fan of President Trump. She probably wasn’t, despite their previous professional relationship which seems to to have been good.

Soul heals like few other things do. We all have our stories. At least people my age do, and I suspect a lot of younger people as well. But it’s inevitable that Aretha’s passing will be weaponized and used and that’s just the way things are. But for now we should be thankful not just for the gifts she shared with us, but for the agreement she brings amongst adversaries.

If only for one precious moment.

 

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