My husband and I watched part of the Coretta Scott King funeral last night and were completely shocked at what a political rally it became. We missed what President Bush had said because we tuned in right as Pres. Carter started speaking. We were both disgusted at his references to wiretapping and Hurricane Katrina. And the icing on the cake was when he snubbed President Bush and wouldn't even shake his hand. He came off as a real asshole, pardon my language. Pres. Bush 41 was witty and uplifting. Pres. Clinton naturally was a compelling speaker, but we were both a bit surprised at how overtly religious his speech was. I always have the feeling that Pres. Bush is the same man in public as behind closed doors, but Pres. Clinton seems to be whoever is needed at the moment. I guess that's a normal quality for a politician to have, but I don't necessarily think it's an endearing quality. And then Hillary Clinton spoke: did anyone else think it was a bit creepy that she focused so much on Coretta standing by her man? Somehow I think it's weird to see the Clintons at a podium talking about strength in marriage. Maybe it's just me.
Overall the whole thing was weird and completely un-funeral-like. I did like what Pres. Clinton had to say, reminding us all that Coretta Scott King was a woman and not just a symbol. I thought the whole thing was a bit smarmy, using this poor woman's death as a chance to reach out to the black community, as if every politician there were saying "see, look at me, I care about black people."
And once again, President Bush has to sit there and smile while everyone blames him for war, racism, and poverty. The man is a saint to take so much abuse with such grace. I'd've punched Carter in the flippin' mouth.
Dang...I'm glad I didn't watch it...
Posted by: Erin at February 08, 2006 05:23 AM (pZh/t)
I didn't see it, and can't comment much. Let's face it, though; the whole thing was a political event through and through from the very beginning. W didn't have any relationship with Mrs. King, as far as I'm aware. He was there because of politics. As far as W. being the same person in public and private, have you read/heard about the story that Tucker Carlson wrote about being alone with Bush in a limo during the 2000 campaign, when Bush was still Governor of Texas? They were getting ready to execute Karla Faye Tucker. If you recall, she had asked for clemency on the grounds of having become a Christian and changed her life. W. mocked her, saying something like "Boo Hoo Hoo, please don't kill me." I don't think that even he would do that in public. Since Carlson is a conservative, he apparently thought that he could get away with it. They say he takes after his mother, after all, and she is notoriously different in private from her grandmotherly public image.
I found what Carlson wrote. This is in Talk magazine, Sept. 1999:
Bush's brand of forthright tough-guy populism can be appealing, and it has played well in Texas. Yet occasionally there are flashes of meanness visible beneath it.
While driving back from the speech later that day, Bush mentions Karla Faye Tucker, a double murderer who was executed in Texas last year. In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. 'Did you meet with any of them?' I ask.
Bush whips around and stares at me. 'No, I didn't meet with any of them,' he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. 'I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' 'What was her answer?' I wonder.
'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'
I must look shocked -- ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel, even for someone as militantly anticrime as Bush -- because he immediately stops smirking.
Posted by: Pericles at February 08, 2006 08:08 AM (eKf5G)
Hmm. No, I've never heard that story before, and simply based on what you've written here (I have to leave in ten minutes and don't have time to read more), I don't think it's that weird of a story. I don't know the details of this double murder, but why should Bush feel sorry for Tucker? Heck, I bet I probably made the same annoyed joke about Tookie Williams. Conversion to Christianity is not at all a reason for clemency, at least not for me. So the story doesn't seem that odd to me.
Pericles, do you think the Clintons are really as religious as they profess in public? They were both spouting Bible verses at the funeral like they were in a contest to see who could say the most. Do you think that's real or faked up just to appear pious?
I didn't mean that Bush would never say something in private that he'd regret in public -- heck, NONE of us would want everything we say to be public. But I meant that people see him as a religious man, and from my understanding he really does pray before meals and meetings and in times of struggle. My husband and I just were wondering if Clinton is as religious at home as he appears to be the minute he walks before a black congregation...
Posted by: Sarah at February 08, 2006 09:07 AM (qzdMp)
I agree with you! I only saw the clips on the news but one was a guy talking about WMD not being found and that they only found weapons of misdirection . . . how is that remotely related to this woman and is that something to talk about at a funeral? I too thought it was funny that Hillary talked about "Standing By Her Man" . . . didn't she make reference to that song when she was defending her husband for his White House scandal and draw fire? This may be a little out there and draw some negative reaction but I never thought of Mrs. King as the "Mother of Civil Rights" as so many have called her . . . she carried on her husband's goal but was what she did more significant than Rosa Parks? Now, Mrs. Parks was the Mother of Civil Rights to me . . . she had some courage to do what she did! I like that double contraction . . . I'd've!
Posted by: Heidi at February 08, 2006 10:41 AM (E0L31)
Heidi -- I too thought the same thing last night. My first thought was, "Um, what has Coretta done lately?" Her husband and she worked honorably for civil rights, which I can completely respect, but I was surprised that her funeral was such a big to-do...
Posted by: Sarah at February 08, 2006 11:45 AM (qzdMp)
Carter is the best thing that can happen to Republicans. He continues to remind voters why he was the worst President in history!
Posted by: Tanker at February 08, 2006 11:56 AM (btzDE)
On C-Span they showed the whole 5 hour long funeral, and I like a dummy, watched the whole thing. It was funny at times and very moving, but also very political. Everyone except Bill and Hillary Clinton and former President Bush, took a shot at President Bush.Most of the funeral was boring. The very best part was the singing and the little bit of preaching that was done...What got me was it was 5 hours long....
Posted by: Mrs.Oz at February 08, 2006 12:59 PM (hQUsz)
Well we can all see how much her legacy meant to those who used her funeral as an opportunity to spew out more useless rhetoric...I'm sorry but no matter what President Carter says, no one will forget the late 1970s, especially not the Economics textbooks (how I learned about his wonderful legacy...). How easy it is for past Presidents to criticize the current when they're not in the same situation.
Posted by: Nicole at February 08, 2006 02:20 PM (KJBDI)
I don't have any particular insight into the Clintons' religosity. My gut instinct is that it is more real for him than for her. I think that he is a complex guy. You kind of imply that he is a hypocrite, and given some of the stuff he's done I can kind of understand that, but I almost think it is something else with him. I think of a hypocrite as someone who says things that he knows he doesn't really believe. I think that Clinton is absolutely convinced of what he says when he says it, even if at other times he says something else that contradicts it. He believes that, too, 100%. I'm almost attributing a multiple personality or a failure to grasp basic logic to him, and maybe that is worse. He's a deeply flawwed guy, and yet in many rspects was an excellent President, IMHO. I'll pull the lever for HRC if she gets he nomination, but of the Dems who have expressed an interest, I'm most enthused about former Virginia Governor Mark Warner.
Posted by: Pericles at February 08, 2006 02:48 PM (ra2qX)
For the record:
If SOMEONE should be referred to as the Mother of Civil Rights look towards actions that made a difference, such as; Jane Addams , Linda Brown of Brown v. The Board of Education, and Mamie Till.
1909: Co-Founder of the NAACP
1954: Overturned Separate but Equal
1955: August 28, murder of Emmett Till
All came before Rosa Parks and the King family.
Mrs. Rosa Parks accomplishments:
In the early 1950s, Parks became active in the American Civil Rights Movement and worked as a secretary for the Montgomery, Alabama branch of the NAACP. Just six months before her arrest, she had attended the Highlander Folk School, an education center for workers' rights and racial equality.
On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Parks, while sitting in the black section of the bus, refused to obey a public bus driver's orders to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus to make extra seats for whites. Rosa was tired of being treated as a second-class citizen and stood firmly. She was arrested, tried, and convicted for disorderly conduct and for violating a local ordinance.
Mrs. Coretta Scott Kings other accomplishments:
â¢ spoke/preached at St. Paul's Cathedral in England
â¢ created, planned, and sought funding for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta
â¢ established in 1969 the annual Coretta Scott King Award to honor African American authors of outstanding educational writings
â¢ established in 1979 an additional Award to honor African American illustrators
â¢ assured recognition for the civil rights movement by seeing her late husbands birthday become a national holiday
â¢ co-chaired the Full Employment Action Council, instituted the Black Leadership Forum, the National Black Coalition for Voter Participation and the Black Leadership Roundtable
â¢ sought to bring out the truth of her husbands assassination by establishing that Ray did not act alone in the commission of the murder, but was instead part of a larger conspiracy; because of the materials she had gathered over the years, a 1999 Tennessee jury found that the assassination was the result of a conspiracy, not of the action of a lone killer
Most recently, Mrs. King was heard speaking out against capital punishment and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. She further supports lesbian/gay rights causes and is an ardent supporter of AIDS/HIV education and prevention.
Posted by: Vonn at February 08, 2006 06:03 PM (dEgRi)
And add to the Kings' history, it was Robert "Bobby" Kennedy (Ted's older brother) who wiretapped MLK's phones, and knew of his calls with a commie sympathizer and of course of his "affairs".
Mr. Jimmy Carter failed to mention that fact when he made his comment about wiretaps. He chose to imply President Bush was at fault.
Misinformation abounds when Liberals get access to a mike and TV camera. To heck with the facts.
I'm hoping Condi Rice will run for President, but if she doesn't, then John McCain is my choice.
I do believe in the death sentence and believe when automatic death sentence for convicted pedophiles is passed, our children will be a whole lot safer. All IMHO, naturally.
Good post and discussion.
Posted by: Chevy Rose at February 08, 2006 07:34 PM (Of5G0)
I just have to ask... why isn't life in prison without parole good enough for pedophiles? Our children wandering in our prisons? Is the fear that the legal system will screw up and release them anyway? Well, if have to be that worried about the legal system screwing up, then hw do we trust it to make sure that only the right people are executed?
Posted by: Pericles at February 08, 2006 08:09 PM (ra2qX)
I watched some parts of the funeral while flipping around the dial when it was rerun on Cspan last night. I saw eugolies by one of Muhammed X's daughters and by Maya Angelou which were very sincere and eloquent. The daughter said that Mrs.King had always been like a second mother to the six children of her mother, always sent birthday cards and gifts and even as late as last November had reached out to her. It was very much like many funerals I have seen. It is such a shame that some politicos took all the limelight and you had to watch Cspan to get the true spirit of a memorial. I thought the President's words were very good and in keeping with the spirit of a memorial.
Posted by: Ruth H at February 08, 2006 08:39 PM (jDZSA)
darn! should have run that post past spellchecker!
EULOGIES, EULOGIES, EULOGIES... do I have to type it ten times, teach?
Posted by: Ruth H at February 08, 2006 08:41 PM (jDZSA)
We always leave it up to the close friends and families of the deceased to use their best judgment as to how that person would want his or her life to be commemorated. The organizers of funerals for those involved in politics usually do mention the political causes they've spent their life fighting for, and so should it be. That is appropriately honoring them.
King was a political person who fought for political causes. Not just for "black people should be allowed to vote," but for issues that are still controversial today. The Bush administration has in many ways fought against her work. When Bush overruled the opinion of professional lawyers that the Texas re-redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act, they were fighting against King. When they filed a brief encouraging the Supreme Court to restrict affirmative action in college admissions, they were fighting against King. She committed her efforts to support gay rights and oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, which the Bush administration pushed.
Are those who make eulogies supposed to pretend all those conflicts never happened to avoid offending the easily offended sensibilities of Republican politicians who by and large do not support King's work? Should we not have anyone at the funeral of a soldier who died in Iraq say that they died fighting for a noble cause, since saying such can be viewed as a political statement?
Posted by: Mr. Silly at February 08, 2006 11:54 PM (Q+kim)
I thought the general Republican/Conservative media reaction to Wellstone's funeral was really just spin, and I see the same here. I am honestly more far offended by those who would criticize the funeral of a fighter for civil rights to try to gain a partisan edge through spin, a spin from partisans who ultimately promote an agenda working to undo what King and others have fought for. Far better that Kings or Wellstone's friends say what they King or Wellstone themselves would have said, and better that they sharing the passion and inspiration that the deceased inspired, than blather out empty platitudes for fear of offending the hyper-sensitive.
I notice that nobody complained about McCain politicizing at Goldwater's funeral. Are there double-standards at work here?
Posted by: Mr. Silly at February 08, 2006 11:55 PM (Q+kim)
Mr. Silly...and I'm not arguing that you're not...I think you're giving Mr. Bush far more power than the Constitution when you want to raise the issue of Texas redistricting and affirmative action decisions regarding college admissions.
Texas redistricting (and I'm sure in other locales based on the 2000 census) was indeed upheld by the courts. Sorry, but those were in place before Mr. Bush took office...so go cry on their black robes.
Regarding affirmative action policies at public institutions, don't you think we're getting a little bit past the point where they were actually necessary? I think Dr. King would be appalled that "we" were still willing to treat people of any color differently from one another. We're coming up on being 150 years beyond the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years from meaningful Civil Rights reform in this country. Just how long will policies that discriminate against European Americans based on the color of their skin be necessary? I would like to think that Dr. King would be more aligned with the thinking of Bill Cosby than that of Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton these days.
See you on the high ground!
Posted by: MajorDad1984 at February 09, 2006 08:19 AM (j7S/Q)
I am afraid I was not especially clear as I was typing quickly. The Bush admin. did not push through but did explicitly support the redistricting, and allowed DHS resources to be used by DeLay to hunt down the missing Dems. Since you seem unfamiliar with the issue, I might remind you that the redistricting case is still in the courts - its legality has not been decided. Note also that it was only one example of a list (which I could have easily expanded), and arguing about it is just a rat hole, as it individually has no bearing on the greater point.
"Regarding affirmative action policies at public institutions, don't you think we're getting a little bit past the point where they were actually necessary? I think Dr. King would be appalled that "we" were still willing to treat people of any color differently from one another."
If I were to pretend to channel the spirit of MLK, I think that the spirit I spoke with would speak quite differently than what you imagined, but we are necessarily in a realm of speculation. With the degree to which racism still has been shown by recent studies to both be surprisingly common in the U.S., and that it still affects things such as hiring practices, makes me doubt that were he to take the position that ending affirmative action altogether would neither benefit the black community or America as a whole. He may indeed have held that the black community has to do a lot of work to do on themselves, as with Cosby, but this is not a contradiction of the earlier view - note that Cosby himself has not criticized affirmative action.
I wonder if you intentionally chose to switch the subject to MLK as a distractor, given that the speech was at Coretta Scott King's funeral. She has made her views quite clear through her life that she still supported affirmative action.
"Just how long will policies that discriminate against European Americans based on the color of their skin be necessary?"
It's hard to say, perhaps when it has been clearly demonstrated in a way that all can agree to that it is not a benefit to either the black community nor to the country as a whole.
Affirmative action has been softened, dropped in many areas, and decreased in others as you can see in this timeline:
While institutional racism is gone, its remnants are still fading. Affirmative action was a countermeasure to help resolve those issues, and the data shows that the degree to which the institutionalization of the countermeasures have begun to fade. Hopefully there will be a day when both will be gone. Since the remnants of the former are not gone today, it makes sense that the countermeasures still persists.
Posted by: Mr Silly at February 09, 2006 11:22 PM (KaSTy)
Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan on the funeral:
"There was nothing prissy, nothing sissy about it. A former president, a softly gray-haired and chronically dyspeptic gentleman who seems to have judged the world to be just barely deserving of his presence, pointedly insulted a sitting president who was, in fact, sitting right behind him. The Clintons unveiled their 2008 campaign. A rhyming preacher, one of the old lions, a man of warmth and stature, freely used the occasion to verbally bop the sitting president on the head.
So what? This was the authentic sound of a vibrant democracy doing its thing. It was the exact opposite of the frightened and prissy attitude that if you draw a picture I don't like, I'll have to kill you.
It was: We do free speech here.
That funeral honored us, and the world could learn a lot from watching it. The U.S. government should send all six hours of it throughout the World Wide Web and to every country on earth, because it said more about who we are than any number of decorous U.N. speeches and formal diplomatic declarations.
A moment for a distinction that must be made. Some have compared Mrs. King's funeral to the Paul Wellstone memorial. It was not like the Wellstone memorial, and you'd have to be as dim and false as Al Franken to say it was. The Wellstone memorial was marked not by joy but anger. It was at moments sour, even dark. There was famous booing.
The King funeral was nothing like this. It was gracious, full of applause and cheers and amens. It was loving even when it was political. It had spirit, not rage. That's part of why it was beautiful."
Posted by: Pericles at February 13, 2006 08:58 AM (eKf5G)
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