Peter Cavanaugh

Happy Valentine’s Day, a brief history. And why Tom McClintock is brilliantly behind the times

jwalker@fresnobee.com

Death by stoning, beating and decapitation.

Alas, this was said to be the fate of Saint Valentine, executed on Feb. 14, 269 A.D. as decreed by Emperor Claudius The Cruel.

There’s a certain sketchiness here.“St. Valentine” is probably a mythical compilation of three different Valentines from that same era.

Even early on there was confusion.

The Roman Catholic Feast of Saint Valentine was first established in 496 A.D. by Pope Gelasius I, who only identified Valentine as being “among those whose name is reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” Subsequent narratives from an imaginative faithful eventually filled in the story.

A flower crowned skull of the composite Saint Valentine can be seen to this day at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Rome. Other body parts were sent as relics to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, the Irish wishing to honor a fine story when they heard it.

It is generally agreed that Valentine (or the Valentines) was (were) put to death because of his (their) Christian faith, which encouraged young men to get married at a particularly licentious time in Roman history. The Emperor preferred footloose single men in his armies – warriors not distracted by family obligations or a crazy little thing called love. Noted English literary giant Geoffrey Chaucer and his crowd came up with many of the current St. Valentine’s legends in the 14th Century with a heavy accent on the romantic.

I remember cutting out paper valentines in first grade at Madison Elementary in Syracuse and passing them out to all my classmates, boys and girls alike. Ah – that taste of paste. They all did the same thing. No one thought anything strange. It was a non-gender-specific act in the late 1940s -- more than 70 years ago. Our teacher, Miss Fitzgerald, was ahead of her time.

Our Congressional Representative, Tom McClintock, is at least 70 years behind the times with that multi-generational gap widening with every new lie from Tom’s Commander and Thief, now up to a dozen a day.

There was Acting Attorney General Matt “Lurch” Whitaker appearing as “Monkey in the Middle” before the House Judiciary Committee last Friday. For full disclosure -- “Monkey in the Middle” is a phrase I just made up, although it seems right on target. You hereby have my permission to invent your own “Monkey in the Middle” usage, up to and including playful adult games of a recreational nature. “Lurch” is, of course, from “The Adams Family” and should require no further explanation.

McClintock unsuccessfully tried to stop the hearing before it got underway, but that should come as no surprise. Since his relatively narrow re-election, here’s a guy who voted to shut down the government – costing our economy $11 billion and strangling local businesses in Oakhurst and other foothill communities.

But as I watched that monkey in the middle, beads of sweat pouring like a fire hose off his shiny bald head, I suddenly realized McClintock’s brilliance in supporting the worst American President in history since George Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree to make teeth.

If a dolt like Whitaker could pull in a cool $1.2 million as “Director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust” (one of three employees) prior to rejoining the Justice Department, imagine McClintock’s potential haul in the role of an articulate and effective defender of billionaire riches as a political consultant. When all is said and done, Tom is highly intelligent, charming when required, and a sharp dresser. I’m sure he also smells nice. And has a heart seeking gold.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Tom.

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