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"Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated." - Coretta Scott King.
February 8, 2006 3:53 PM   Subscribe

""We only have to recall the colour of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi who are most devastated by Katrina to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans." - Former President Jimmy Carter.

Coretta Scott King was laid to rest Tuesday after a six-hour service attended by four presidents and 10,000 ordinary people who came to pay tribute to the first lady of the civil rights movement - and one of its last icons. But at an event designed to remember the lady who was as memorable as her late husband in fighting for civil rights, politics entered the fray with both former President Jimmy Carter and Rev Joseph Lowery taking swipes at the Bush Administration. They say that there's a time and a place, and while this was clearly not the place, with thousands of Katrina victims (mostly African-American) about to be evicted because of budget cuts by the Bush administration, was it the time?
posted by Effigy2000 (149 comments total)

 
Huh? Why was it not the time or the place? Sounds like they sent Coretta up the way she would have wanted? The fuss seems to be all from people who can't relate to her in the first place.
posted by qwip at 3:58 PM on February 8, 2006


this was clearly not the place

Why not?
posted by washburn at 3:59 PM on February 8, 2006


...was it the time?

Hell yes. And it sure as shit was the place, too.
posted by 40 Watt at 3:59 PM on February 8, 2006


"Why are Republicans such weenies about funeral orations?...

Wingnut crybabies are whining that W got dissed at Coretta King's funeral. What did they expect -- praise for his civil rights record? Honor for his warrantless wiretapping? Encomia for widening the gap between rich and poor? Heckofajob!s for his post-Katrina promise-keeping?...

At Caesar's funeral, as Shakespeare tells it, Marc Antony nicely ripped Brutus a new one. Jimmy Carter was no less rhetorically elegant at Coretta King's service. Why should an elegy be an occasion to turn your back on all you believe, and all that the deceased life's stood for?" [source]
posted by ericb at 4:03 PM on February 8, 2006


I would say that it wasn't the place because it's a funeral and it's something that shouldn't really be politicised, unless it was something the deceased expressed beforehand that doing so would be ok by him/her. I am no fan of the Bush movement, and I can see how one would argue it was the place, but it's not something I would probably have done.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:08 PM on February 8, 2006


Lowery Responds To Right-Wing’s ‘Politicization’ Criticisms
Rev. Joseph Lowery appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show last night to respond to right-wing criticisms that his remarks inappropriately politicized Coretta Scott King’s funeral. Carlson told Lowery his remarks 'seemed like bad manners' and were 'very uncomfortable.' Lowery stood his ground.
CARLSON: It’s not hard to hear that [your remarks] and not draw the obvious conclusion that that’s an attack on President Bush, which of course is your right to do, and I think completely fair. But again, it seemed very uncomfortable to say something like that in a funeral with the president right there. It seemed like bad manners.

LOWERY: Well, I don’t think so. I certainly didn’t intend for it to be bad manners. I did intend for it to — to call attention to the fact that Mrs. King spoke truth to power. And here was an opportunity to demonstrate how she spoke truth to power about this war and about all wars.

And I think that, in the context of the faith, out of which the movement grows, we have always opposed war. We’ve always fought poverty. And we base our — our argument on — on the faith, on the fact that Jesus taught us. He identified with the poor. “I was hungry; you didn’t feed me. I was naked; you didn’t clothe me. I was in prison; you didn’t see about me.” He talked about war. He talked about he who lives by the sword.

So I’m comfortable with the fact that I was reflecting on Mrs. King’s tenacity against war, her determination to witness against war and to speak truth to power.
Video of the interview [.mov]
posted by ericb at 4:09 PM on February 8, 2006


That should read "Bush movement administration." Kinda funny though. :P
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:09 PM on February 8, 2006


Sorry folks, only the die hard Bush haters would stick up for trashing the president at a funeral. It was supposed to be about Mrs. King... Didn't the Democrats learn their lesson from the Wellstone funeral?
posted by Durwood at 4:10 PM on February 8, 2006


MLK and Coretta were all about telling the truth to power. MLK paid the ultimate price for doing so.

I think Coretta would have been absolutely thrilled that Carter stood up and spoke strongly for civil rights at her funeral. Her entire life was devoted to criticizing the establishment and pushing it to do better.

For this woman, in this time and place, what better possible way could there be to say goodbye?
posted by Malor at 4:10 PM on February 8, 2006


Interesting that the 'truth to power' meme has sunk in so thoroughly... I hadn't read the quote above when I posted mine.
posted by Malor at 4:11 PM on February 8, 2006


"As the barbs flew, Bush seemed to take the heat in stride, smiling at times, giving Lowery a standing ovation and even pulling the civil rights leader in for a bear hug.

[Donna] Brazile said the criticism of Bush was part of a tradition in the civil rights movement of 'speaking truth to power.' Bush 'took it in the spirit of the moment,' she said, 'which was a testament to who Coretta Scott King was.'" [LA Times]
posted by ericb at 4:16 PM on February 8, 2006


Martin Luther King, Jr. himself used the occasion of the Sixteenth Street Babtist Church funeral for 3 of the 4 girls killed to speak about the Dixiecrats and others who would deny equality.
They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans.
To argue that this was anything but the correct time and place to honor the memory of a woman who spoke Truth to Power, and to continue her fight, is a lie, plain and simple.

That the truth makes you uncomfortable does not make it any less of the truth.
posted by petrilli at 4:16 PM on February 8, 2006


At the JFK service someone should have reminded the audience and America that screwing Maryln Monroe in adultery was not a good thing to have done. Inappropirate? No. Truth to power.
Like what was said or not, I am always delighted when a comment can tell us what What Coretta would have liked.
posted by Postroad at 4:16 PM on February 8, 2006


At Caesar's funeral, as Shakespeare tells it, Marc Antony nicely ripped Brutus a new one.

It's been a while since I read Julius Caesar, and I admit that I haven't been following this news story that closely, but are you under the impression that Bush stabbed Coretta Scott King to death in front of her office along with a group of her peers?
posted by JekPorkins at 4:17 PM on February 8, 2006


I've been wondering about that, Malor. Where does the phrase come from? I first became aware of it while reading reviews of Good Night and Good Luck.

Anyway, I have no problem with the political jabs. Why de-politicize a funeral for such a political figure? It would be a completely meaningless ceremony.
posted by brundlefly at 4:18 PM on February 8, 2006


Why not politicize funerals – especially those of political figures? Shit, that's been the right's stock in trade since 9/11. But, you know, keep working the refs or whatever.
posted by furiousthought at 4:18 PM on February 8, 2006


Sorry folks, only the die hard Bush haters would stick up for trashing the president at a funeral. It was supposed to be about Mrs. King... Didn't the Democrats learn their lesson from the Wellstone funeral?

Absolute and complete bullshit.

When the deceased had no love for the policies of nor the President himself, her good friends have every right to point that out at her funeral.

Hell, if I was King's family, I would have made sure Bush did not speak at the funeral at all.
posted by teece at 4:20 PM on February 8, 2006


At the JFK service someone should have reminded the audience and America that screwing Maryln Monroe in adultery was not a good thing to have done. Inappropirate? No. Truth to power.

Regardless of what anyone thinks, there is a difference between transhing someone at their own funeral and what happened here. Your analogy fails.
posted by Falconetti at 4:21 PM on February 8, 2006


Here we go with the adultery again. Is that really the worst thing you can say about JFK?
posted by redteam at 4:21 PM on February 8, 2006


Postroad, there's a difference between insulting a dead person's memory by casting aspersions on his character at the funeral and honoring a hero by continuing her work even at her funeral.
posted by maxreax at 4:22 PM on February 8, 2006


A sampling of right-wing reaction. And they wonder why the black community doesn't trust the GOP.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:22 PM on February 8, 2006



Sorry folks, only the die hard Bush haters would stick up for trashing the president at a funeral.


Since you're so good at this, what type of person would pigeonhole anyone who sticks up for it as a "die-hard Bush hater"?
posted by wakko at 4:22 PM on February 8, 2006


You know what is really rich?

All the complete bullshit that we are hearing from the right about the politicization of this funeral (and the Wellstone one) is itself transparently political.

Give me a break.
posted by teece at 4:24 PM on February 8, 2006


Hell, if I was King's family, I would have made sure Bush did not speak at the funeral at all.

This was my thought exactly. Fuck Bush and his smarmy opportunism--he's the only speaker at Mrs. King's funeral who actually stood to gain anything by speaking there. That the King family allowed him to spout his bullshit in the first place speaks to a graciousness and forbearance that is sadly lacking in the Republicans and their froth-mouthed minions (including a few here on the 'filter).
posted by Chrischris at 4:26 PM on February 8, 2006


Sorry folks, only the die hard Bush haters apologists would stick up for whine about trashing the president at a Coretta's funeral.

There, I fixed those typos for ya.
posted by qwip at 4:27 PM on February 8, 2006


*shrug* When was the last time any politician anywhere passed up a chance to practice their profession? It's the frog and scorpian parable.

Why is anyone surprised?
posted by elendil71 at 4:27 PM on February 8, 2006


Where does the phrase come from?

It is a charge given to 18th. century 'Friends' (Quakers).
"We speak to power in three senses:

To those who hold high places in our national life and bear the terrible responsibility of making decisions for war or peace.

To the American people who are the final reservoir of power in this country and whose values and expectations set the limits for those who exercise authority.

To the idea of Power itself, and its impact on Twentieth Century life.
[source]
posted by ericb at 4:28 PM on February 8, 2006


They say that there's a time and a place, and while this was clearly not the place [...] was it the time?

Bullshit.

Mrs. King lived her adult life as one trying to make sure that people didn't forget about the ordeals that black people have to go through every single day in America. She was one of the last remaining faces of the civil rights movement -- a movement that was not about letting someone else define the time or place for action.

If a service that is being held to remember her life and honor her legacy isn't the time and place to remind the world that's watching how things are still quite fucked up for black people in America, and seem to be getting much worse, partially because of those who are running our government... then what time, and what place, could possibly be more appropriate?

Ignoring what is happening to the former population of New Orleans, and to underprivileged people in these United States would be a disgrace to her legacy. If you want to stick your head in the sand, go right ahead, but don't soil her good name by suggesting that everyone else should too.

I'm sure that the recently reunited Mr and Mrs. King were watching, smiling, swaying and nodding.
posted by toxic at 4:32 PM on February 8, 2006


My only problem with Rev. Lowery's remarks was his claim that "we know now" that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We knew then!

I'm sure King would have rather had her funeral canceled than turned into a sentimental photo-op for an administration that's been an implacable foe of nearly everything she stood for.

When soldier's funerals don't mention "honor" or "sacrifice" and when religious funerals don't mention "eternal life"--only then would it begin to make sense to have a funeral for a woman like Coretta Scott King, and not link it to the struggle for justice, civil rights, and the dignity of all human persons.
posted by washburn at 4:35 PM on February 8, 2006


I stand corrected. Clearly it was the place.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:37 PM on February 8, 2006


Oh, wow! Thanks, ericb.
posted by brundlefly at 4:38 PM on February 8, 2006


Pot. Kettle. Black. Old tactic. Always co-opt or use the symbol for all it’s worth.
I’m not arguing a position, I’m just saying it’s done and it’s been done for a long time.

Is anyone seriously going to argue decorum should take precedent over political struggle?
Or rather - that it should when it isn’t your guy in power who benefits by, enforces or otherwise defines that decorum?

Some things you can only look at and say ‘go figure’.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:39 PM on February 8, 2006


or what elendil71 sed
posted by Smedleyman at 4:40 PM on February 8, 2006


Here's a clip of Lowery at the funeral.
posted by homunculus at 4:40 PM on February 8, 2006


Career law enforcement professionals on the payroll of the U S governement subjected the King family--including Ms. Coretta--to wiretapping and electronic surveillance throughout Dr. King's career. It is a sign of a guilty conscience for Bushites to rail at Jimmy Carter for mentioning this at the recent memorial; the reaction is that of Claudius to Hamlet's play.

There was nothing inappropriate in Mr. Carter's reminding us all--including Mr. Bush--of an evil chapter of government intrusion into the private lives of great Americans. Especially not at a public memorial service for one of those Americans. If one feels that this reminder reflects poorly on Bush, that is not Jimmy Carter's fault.
posted by rdone at 4:42 PM on February 8, 2006


If you don't have any real emotions inside, faking outrage is alright, I guess.
posted by sonofsamiam at 4:44 PM on February 8, 2006


I'm beginning to suspect that if JekPorkins were any more deliberately obtuse s/he'd be ripped straight from the pages of Euclid's Elements.

Anyone who thinks that unconstitutional wiretapping, unconscionable wars, and politically motivated (character) assassination aren't relevant to Mrs. King's life story evidently don't know much history.

God forbid Bush face a single moment of accountability in his entire life. If anything, it would be inappropriate, given Mrs. King's life and legacy, to pretend that she didn't speak out - loudly and often in her own way - about the evils of bungled wars, grossly negligent indifference to the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, or the way in which privilege manifests itself, often in smugly unselfconscious ways. Bush is the guest at her funeral, and the only reason Bush is even present is because Mrs. King dedicated her life to the end of, well, speaking truth to power.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:44 PM on February 8, 2006


Go Quakers! Thanks ericb, I had no idea that was the source.

As for the funeral, I watched part of it, and then three hours later realized it was still going on. I'm sorry, but no one deserves a six-hour funeral. Strangely, it reminded me of the death porn that was Reagan's funeral, replete with weepy Nancy. It was just really tacky.

I don't mind Bush getting bashed a bit, but what was really disgusting was Mr. Clinton using an obviously staged line to get an ovation for Mrs. Clinton in the context of "many presidents past, present, and . . . ."

Meh. I want to be cremated, and then have my friends smoke me.
posted by bardic at 4:45 PM on February 8, 2006


/offtopic

with thousands of Katrina victims (mostly African-American) about to be evicted because of budget cuts by the Bush administration

Evicted? EVICTED? Katrina was on August 23rd. Sorry... but how long does one need to find a new job or place to live? Would you suggest that we just go ahead and fund these people staying at the Crowne Plaza forever?

Sorry... but it's hardly an eviction. 5 months + should be plenty of time to find something more permanent.

/ontopic
posted by AspectRatio at 4:45 PM on February 8, 2006


Thousands of Katrina Victims Evicted -- being widely reported today.
posted by ericb at 4:51 PM on February 8, 2006


Effigy2000: good job, being persuaded to change your mind.
An even better job, to publicly concede the point. Very classy.

I was going to add: Any time and place one runs into George W. Bush, it's every patriotic American's duty and responsibility to remind him that he has fucked up, that his policies have brought our country nothing but disaster after disaster.

Who could possibly think that Coretta Scott King - of all people!- wouldn't agree?
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 4:53 PM on February 8, 2006


FEMA trailers continue to stack up
"It's my understanding that 65,000 (people) in Louisiana have requested homes and only 2,000 have been delivered," [U.S. Rep. Mike] Ross said. Those figures are only for residents of the New Orleans area, he said, and don't include others, who are without housing, in Louisiana and Mississippi."
posted by ericb at 4:55 PM on February 8, 2006


January 2003:

"We commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. as a great champion of peace who warned us that war was a poor chisel for carving out a peaceful tomorrow," [Coretta Scott] King said. "We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. Martin said, 'True peace is not just the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice."'

January 2004:

King's widow, who urged world leaders to avoid an impending war in Iraq during her remarks at last year's service, said she would address the issue again. Coretta Scott King has continued to speak out in opposition to the war.
posted by holgate at 4:55 PM on February 8, 2006


The Bush administration and the Republican party for the last 6 years have almost done nothing but politicize funerals and death.
posted by Buck Eschaton at 4:57 PM on February 8, 2006


joe lisboa: I didn't say it wasn't appropriate to say nasty stuff about Bush at the funeral. I was trying to point out that the Julius Caesar analogy was overwrought. I have no doubt that if Ms. King had spoken at any event that Bush also spoke at, she would have done the same. But the Julius Caesar analogy was way overwrought.
posted by JekPorkins at 5:00 PM on February 8, 2006


It was the perfect time and place--and way--to celebrate an activist's life.

...O'Beirne's filthy mouth spews like an untreated gutter and she thinks people take her seriously. As if the open racism of the National Review is some hidden secret. Tweety may be an idiot, but the rest of us aren't.

There is a reason Coretta Scott King was given a sendoff to rival that of any queen, why an aging Oliver Tambo's wife, former head of the military wing of the ANC, came thousands of miles topay tribute, why Edgar J. Hoover was shrunk after his efforts to blackmail King became known, why every black person of note and half of Atlanta came to pay tribute.

It was about her strength of character and moral bearing.
...
She saw what so many others did not, that the struggle for human rights didn't exclude people. And while Jakes and the rest of the Bush-grovelling homophobes take the easy way out, Mrs. King chose to stand with those they despised.

And that is why the GOP must try to capture and neuter the legagy of the Kings, because, even in death, it remains something they cannot defeat.


Let's place her life against any GOP woman's life of around the same age--Nancy, Barbara Bush, Phyllis Schlafly??? WTF have they done for others that helped the world?
posted by amberglow at 5:00 PM on February 8, 2006


It's interesting that there are several references to Shakespeare in the thread already. I'd say that it was in oblique recognition that these ceremonies are intrinsically performative and all the speeches fundamentally rhetorical.

These are, after all, our funeral games. Bush — nodding and smiling, ever the cheerleader — no doubt recognized Lowery's speech as he would have a superb pankration contender, leading in form, competitiveness and opportunity to prevail.

To decry these acts as being in bad taste would be as though to criticize the sweatiness of an athlete's brow as the laurel descends. There could have been no better time, or place, for Lowery or Carter to demonstrate excellence and resolution.
posted by Haruspex at 5:04 PM on February 8, 2006


Rephrasing what I said earlier.... a bland, politically-correct funeral for Coretta Scott King would have been a profound insult to the woman.

brundlefly: I'm not sure where I heard the "speaking truth to power" phrase. I think it would have to have surfaced during the recent MLK Jr. Day... it was the first time I'd really taken the time to go back read/listen to some of his speeches. (and which prompted my second-ever FPP, as it happens.)

So it was somewhere in that coverage, I'm almost sure. Exactly where, unfortunately, I don't know.
posted by Malor at 5:05 PM on February 8, 2006


Anyone who didn't expect this happen (including Presidents) is either incredibly dense or very short-sighted.
posted by geekhorde at 5:08 PM on February 8, 2006


Everything is political. Should anyone be surprised that the rare time Bush appears in front of an audience that is not carefully screened there is some pent up hostility?
posted by chrismc at 5:14 PM on February 8, 2006


Double. Newsfilter. Editorializing. Primary link of the post points to biased and largely inaccurate single-page news story. All the makings of a terrible, terrible post.

First of all, Jimmy Carter mentioning that the kings had been under surveilance is hardly a swipe; he was simply pointing out how brave they were in the face of opposition from all sides, even their own government. Lowery's invoked "bombshelters of Baghdad" to point out that she remained politically active until the end of her life. Previous commenters have said all this better than I.

In chronicling the many, many public struggles Mrs. King had throughout her life, the list would be entirely incomplete did it not include the last 6 years, when she was a strong and vocal opponent of the Bush administration. Of COURSE its appropriate to mention some of that work.

At Reagan's funeral, there was alot of talk of his giving voice to the conservative movement, reigning in non-defense government spending, and ushering in an era of personal responsibility (read, fighting "welfare queens"), and other conservative projects. But upon the death of a staunch, life-long social liberal we are to ignore the politics that defined her life? Asinine. Flagged.
posted by ChasFile at 5:16 PM on February 8, 2006


What Haruspex said.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:16 PM on February 8, 2006


The "not right time or place" is just a distractor that was evidently used to derail attention from what was said and by who during the cerimony.

When one is not able to destroy the message one speaker is bringing, the next best thing to do is to attack the speaker personally...for instance by suggesting that there is a right place for something and that the speaker is violating some unwritten moral rules.

The trick is to invert the stall is claiming that extraordinary time and situation demand extraodinary behaviors : it would be nice to just serve a silent funeral, but silence would betray the spirit of VOICING against the power and this is a time in which power is abusing ... etc

Also..it always never the right time for somebody.
posted by elpapacito at 5:25 PM on February 8, 2006


teece:Hell, if I was King's family, I would have made sure Bush did not speak at the funeral at all.
If I were the family I would not have invited Bush. Full stop. The man cheapens the very air he breathes when he dares turn up at the funeral of a civil rights protestor dressed in anything other than sackcloth and ashes. If the right are going to bitch about anything, let them bitch at the spurning of Bush, whose very career is contrary to what King stood for.
posted by kaemaril at 5:40 PM on February 8, 2006


Isn't it funny how the Republicans have no problem at all stepping all over her funeral by erupting in outrage to eulogies given by her dear friends? This is just Wellstone redux. They hated him and they hated Martin Luther King. They hate anyone who gives hope to the people they and their corporate godfathers use as human doormats. As always, if you ever want to know what the Republicans are guilty of just listen at what they are accusing others of doing.
posted by any major dude at 5:42 PM on February 8, 2006


This thread is brought to you by Standard Partisan Rhetoric 'R Us. Wow. It's like somebody cranked up both the republican and the democrat cliche generators and turned them up to 11.
posted by JekPorkins at 5:52 PM on February 8, 2006


Where was Dick Cheney and his parka?
posted by terrapin at 5:53 PM on February 8, 2006


Chasfile, you certainly have a lot to say for a post that you deem "terrible".
posted by Skygazer at 5:58 PM on February 8, 2006


Oh man.

Look. Inappropriate? I'll tell you inappropriate:

Bush had the AUDACITY to invoke MLK - a human who personified everything there is about being anti-war - in his SOTU address last week. Then in the next paragraph Bush was trying to sell the war in Iraq... on the same lies AGAIN.

Like King, from beyond the grave, would endorse the Iraq war as a some sort of struggle for freedom.

So FUCK BUSH and GOP pony he rode in on.
posted by tkchrist at 6:02 PM on February 8, 2006


If I were the family I would not have invited Bush. Full stop.

That would likely be next to impossible to do. Etiquette wise.
posted by tkchrist at 6:05 PM on February 8, 2006


Basically, the argument the right gives seems to boil down to "well you shouldn't have brought up civil rights abuses at the funeral of a civil rights leader."

Which I guess would be like demanding there be no discussion of automobiles at Henry Ford's funeral. I mean, how inappropriate!
posted by wakko at 6:09 PM on February 8, 2006


This thread is brought to you by Standard Partisan Rhetoric 'R Us. Wow. It's like somebody cranked up both the republican and the democrat cliche generators and turned them up to 11.

Unlike that supposed outrage of supposed moderates and disinterested parties, which is always original and witty and completely free from cliche.

*rolls eyes*

I get so frickin' tired of this cop out with respect to politics.
posted by teece at 6:10 PM on February 8, 2006


"Hell, if I was King's family, I would have made sure Bush did not speak at the funeral at all."

Pissing off the chief executive is not a good idea when you're trying to pawn off a tomb to the feds for ten mill or so.
posted by mischief at 6:16 PM on February 8, 2006


Didn't the Democrats learn their lesson from the Wellstone funeral?

Yeah, and you know what? At Hunter S. Thompson's funeral, people were bad-mouthing Bush AND Nixon.

With someone as demonstrably right-wing and anti-black as W in office, you expect people NOT to mention his manifold failings?

At the funeral for the widow of Martin Luther KING?
posted by Relay at 6:21 PM on February 8, 2006


Is this the same President Bush who says his relationship with the NAACP is "bascially nonexistant" and is the first president since Warren G. Harding to not meet with the group while in office?

I enjoyed deciphering the Bush's body language in this photo taken while Reverend Lowery was speaking.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:23 PM on February 8, 2006


Well, why the fcuk was Bush there? To honor an activist? To establish a relationship with Black America? If it was the latter, he's 5 years too late. If I were King's family, I would have asked him NOT TO BOTHER COMING. she's already dead. He had five years to recognize her contribution to the U.S.A.

The resentment of the crowd was compounded by Bush's avoidance of the NAACP and the general public. He has never addressed the NAACP as president; he vets his audiences for supporter of his policies. He flew to NOLA, but he didn't appear in front of a crowd.

Bush decided to appear at the funeral of an African American activist, despite his apparent distain for civil rights. Whether or not you agree with Lowery and Carter's behavior, Bush got off easy.

This funeral was about Coretta Scott King. IMHO not insulting Bush would have insulted her memory.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:24 PM on February 8, 2006


Republicans don't know how to have a funeral. Milquetoast sermons? Or, to quote Frederick Douglas: "Agitate, agitate, agitate."
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:30 PM on February 8, 2006


On preview-- I was about to post the same picture kirkaracha did. I don't think Bush took the criticism too well.

And Laura. Damn, That's a woman who knows how to hate with her beady little eyes

BTW, where was Babs Bush? I bet they left her at home to cut eye holes in sheets.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:30 PM on February 8, 2006


If I were the family I would not have invited Bush. Full stop.

That would likely be next to impossible to do. Etiquette wise.

One quick private letter would do it.

"Dear George. You're the president so it wouldn't be politic to not invite you. But just so you know, we've invited a whole bunch of people, from the NAACP to some poor black folk from New Orleans, to speak at the funeral. We've given them all a list of bullet points, for those who didn't already have a long, long list. Sit there and look like a twat, or stay away and send some flunky we don't hate as much as you."

I think that would have done the trick :)
posted by kaemaril at 6:33 PM on February 8, 2006


Double. Newsfilter. Editorializing.

ChasFile: fuck your mother
posted by radiosig at 6:37 PM on February 8, 2006


"BTW, where was Babs Bush? I bet they left her at home to cut eye holes in sheets."

"Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated." - C King

Or was she just full of shit?
posted by mischief at 6:39 PM on February 8, 2006


BTW, where was Babs Bush? I bet they left her at home to cut eye holes in sheets.

She's home whipping her Katrina refugees new servants into shape.
posted by amberglow at 6:39 PM on February 8, 2006


kirkaracha wrote:
"I enjoyed deciphering the Bush's body language in this photo taken while Reverend Lowery was speaking."

The hatred in Laura Bush's eyes is absolutely palpable.
posted by geekhorde at 6:41 PM on February 8, 2006


On review, gesamtkunstwerk said pretty much the same thing.
posted by geekhorde at 6:41 PM on February 8, 2006


I hope my funeral warants being politicized.
posted by I Foody at 6:57 PM on February 8, 2006


Hell, if I was King's family, I would have made sure Bush did not speak at the funeral at all.

This was my thought exactly. Fuck Bush and his smarmy opportunism


If bush had not gone this thread would be filled with anger at his snubbing mrs. king. He did, so we're angry at that. In some venues he's not going to win. Surely he knew with carter there it wasn't going to be pretty. The right thing was to go.

The funeral was a 6 hour pep rally, much like this thread where instead of hearing about the wonderful life of king, we talk about bush. Which, you know, is fine.
posted by justgary at 7:00 PM on February 8, 2006


Yes, justgary, you're right. "We're angry at [the fact that Bush attended the funeral]." You get a time-out for lack of reading comprehension.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:11 PM on February 8, 2006


in my link above, there's a quote by Ms. King, justgary---and there have been many quotes and links posted already about her life. This thread is about the GOP reaction to her funeral (gee, i wonder if they're using the funeral for political purposes as well just maybe???) and the continuing disdain shown afflicted African-Americans even today, as in the Gulf. Using what was said at a funeral to score political points is even worse than saying something at an activist's funeral, in case you didn't realize, politically speaking. Who's using her life and death to make points now?

here's some Mr. King for you, too, spoken at the group funeral of 4 little girls in Birmingham: ... They have something to say to every politician [Audience:] (Yeah) who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats (Yeah) and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans. (Speak) They have something to say to every Negro (Yeah) who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice. They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:12 PM on February 8, 2006


Fuck that, you get a yellow flag for wilfull misrepresentation of the underlying "issue," and that's a cheap tactic, ass.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:12 PM on February 8, 2006


, justgary.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:16 PM on February 8, 2006


I wonder how much Dexter can profit by licensing that quote (before it goes out of copyright anyway).
posted by mischief at 7:16 PM on February 8, 2006


Sit there and look like a twat, or stay away and send some flunky we don't hate as much as you."

heh. Can you imagine if Bush has sent Cheney to this?

That would have been something to see!
posted by washburn at 7:22 PM on February 8, 2006


amberglow, what do you think of Bill setting Hillary up for an ovation? Was that a moment of apolitical reverence for the Kings and their legacy or not?
posted by bardic at 7:23 PM on February 8, 2006


Reading The Pictures: Laura's "Sit Down Strike" For Coretta King
"And you thought, never in her life has the First Lady gotten even close to a "sit in."

Because the mannequin-like Laura has worked plenty hard cultivating a facade of grace and propriety, people don't customarily think of her as surly. Still, it's completely typical for Mrs. Bush to display her thin skin in the rare instance anyone manages to confront her. Otherwise, the attitude finds every chance to express itself in more physical or passive-aggressive ways.

Take her behavior at yesterday's Coretta Scott King funeral, for example. This sequence of frames comes right at the end of Joseph Lowery's lyrical, elegant and, yes, blistering eulogy taking Bush America to task."
posted by ericb at 7:24 PM on February 8, 2006


I wish Bush had sent Cheney. I have fantasies about watching that man have a heart attack. And for the record, yes I would call an ambulance and give him CPR, but I would feel as little sympathy for that asshole as he would the millions of unisured Americans. ZERO.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:29 PM on February 8, 2006


Outstanding eulogy by Red. Lowery. Check out that video if you haven't seen it. I think Coretta would have been very, very pleased.

I can only hope that my own funeral, when it comes, has even a fraction of this much support of what I've lived my own life for...
posted by darkstar at 7:32 PM on February 8, 2006


Should we even wonder why so many in the GOP were made uncomfortable by the funeral? ..."but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice." ...
posted by amberglow at 7:36 PM on February 8, 2006


Dr King, on his wishes for his own eulogy, from his sermon: "The Drum Major Instinct":
Every now and then I guess we all think realistically (Yes, sir) about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator--that something that we call death. We all think about it. And every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself, "What is it that I would want said?" And I leave the word to you this morning.

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. (Yes) And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize--that isn't important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards--that's not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. (Yes)

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. (Yes)

I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. (Amen)

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. (Yes)

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. (Yes)

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. (Lord)

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. (Yes)

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for peace. (Yes) I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. (Yes) I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. (Amen) And that's all I want to say.
I hope the fact that Reverned Lowery's eulogy of Mrs. King touched upon the same issues -- war, poverty, racism and injustice, and her lifelong commitment to rectifying these wrongs -- isn't lost on anyone's selectively delicate, faux outraged sensibilities.

May perpetual light shine upon her, and may she rest in peace.
posted by edverb at 7:37 PM on February 8, 2006


Yes.
posted by darkstar at 7:43 PM on February 8, 2006


'Course, were there any actual justice, President AWOL would attend the funerals of the Iraqi civilians and American soldiers he's killed, instead of this calculated little campaign stop.

'Course, attending the funerals of the soldiers he's responsible for killing is a little too much reality for President AWOL to handle. And he continues to duck the parents of American KIAs who want a little chat with him.

Conservatives suffer fear bordering on hysteria whenever one speaks truth to power.

Same as it ever was....pathetic as it ever was.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:52 PM on February 8, 2006


I'm amazed so many of y'all turned out to express approval for what occurred at that funeral. I know MetaFilter is littered with die-hard liberals, but it's really surprising sometimes to see just how far off the reservation y'all have wandered.

Sentiments like you've expressed in this thread are exactly why y'all keep losing power in this country. You can pump the myth of Karl Rove as a political genius if you like, but it ain't true. The Republicans don't keep winning because they're so damn good at professional politics. They keep winning 'cause y'all are so damn bad.
posted by cribcage at 8:03 PM on February 8, 2006


Jimmy Carter & Reverend Lowery: NO CLASS.
posted by davidmsc at 8:10 PM on February 8, 2006


davidmsc: GOP BOT.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:12 PM on February 8, 2006


Yes, cribcage. The posters at MeFi are Democratic Party operatives, therefore it is fair to compare their influence with that of Karl Rove and the GOP. Ya'll fuckin' serious, or can ya'll just drop the affected southern vernacular and step out of character now?
posted by joe lisboa at 8:15 PM on February 8, 2006


cribcage, fuck off. To think that MeFi somehow is part of the Democratic machine is retarded. Why are you here? Oh yea, you're the problem.

davidmsc, you have no class. Seriously. I've seen you say things you believe in at an appropriate forum. That equals (as far as I can tell about how your world works) no class.
posted by wah at 8:18 PM on February 8, 2006


"Truth to power"? Never heard that one before. Kind of annoying, IMO. As for class, Carter and Lowery graduated decades ago, so of course they don't have any class.

END SARCASM

Funerals are about honoring the dead. To honor someone famous for sticking it to The Man and fighting for social justice, you talk about social justice and sticking it to The Man, regardless of whether or not The Man happens to be in attendance.
posted by Ndwright at 8:34 PM on February 8, 2006


cribcage: Oh. There was I thinking they kept winning because they rig elections, lie through their teeth, do their best to keep the electorate in fear and ignorance, get all the money because they're in cahoots with Corporate America at the expense of the averae citizen, are institutionally corrupt and think nothing - absolutely nothing - of smearing all those who disagree with them through a carefully created network of lying, whining, patronising bastiches like O'Reilly, etc who carefully spin republican talking points whilst claiming to be independent journalists who tell it like it is, are "fair and balanced" and so forth.
posted by kaemaril at 8:34 PM on February 8, 2006


In this Administration it's funny how the "time and the place for those things" is never "now."
posted by clevershark at 8:48 PM on February 8, 2006


If I were the family I would not have invited Bush. Full stop.

wrong, wrong, wrong ... just what other opportunity would happen where he was told to his face how wrong he is about certain things and he just had to sit there and listen to it?

he's surrounded himself constantly with people who do nothing but agree with him ... he's done everything he could to avoid being confronted by people who disagree with him

for once he had to sit and listen to it and take it

even the price of having him speak later is not too much to pay for that
posted by pyramid termite at 8:54 PM on February 8, 2006


pyramid termite is correct. This was an unparallelled opportunity for Bush to be forced into a situation where he didn't have a pre-selected, loyalty-oath-signing audience prepared to ask him to accept a salute.

He did, so we're angry at that.

Sorry, justgary, this is pure enjoyment. Making the Preznit squirm is fun.
posted by dhartung at 9:18 PM on February 8, 2006


Here's what I find amazing about views like cribcage's and other people trying to label all these eulogies a "liberal screw up":

They that, and attempt to frame this as if MLK & Coretta were NOT liberals.

Are conservatives really that twisted?

Do they really refuse to admit that MLK was a liberal?
posted by Relay at 9:35 PM on February 8, 2006


sorry about that bad typing ... should read:

They attempt to frame this as if MLK & Coretta were NOT liberals.
posted by Relay at 9:36 PM on February 8, 2006


They attempt to frame this as if MLK & Coretta were NOT liberals.

"liberal" is just a stupid political label - it means different things to different people, and frankly I wouldn't want anyone to be described as a "liberal" by a republican, since the term means something different to republicans than it does to those who describe themselves with the term. Using it, or any other politicized term to describe King is patently offensive to me, since I hope that MLK's legacy will rise above partisan politics. Sadly, MLK's legacy is too often manipulated to support partisan attempts at gaining political power.

When republicans use the term "liberal," it's usually an insult. I'm glad republicans don't call MLK a liberal.

When self-proclaimed "liberals" use the term, it's partisan and usually an attempt to elevate themselves above those to whom they think they're morally superior. I like to think that MLK wouldn't have stooped to the level of using the term at all as it is used today.

Maybe I'm wrong about MLK, though. Maybe he wasn't an altruistic hero of justice like I imagine he was. But if he wasn't, and he could, indeed, be described with politically charged partisan labels, please don't tell me. I'd rather not think of him that way.
posted by JekPorkins at 9:50 PM on February 8, 2006


Jek, you know what Relay was saying. Don't be an ass.
posted by 235w103 at 10:10 PM on February 8, 2006


And perhaps you should also like to think of Caesar without ever having to consider the existence of armies.
posted by furiousthought at 10:11 PM on February 8, 2006


"I'm glad republicans don't call MLK a liberal."

You're missing the point JekPorkins.

Republicans are SACRED of calling MLK a liberal, because he was good.

The fact that he was a liberal, well before conservatives worked long and hard to turn that word into an epithet akin to child molester or rapist.

The republicans are trying very, very hard to steer people away from seeing him as being a liberal, because ALL liberals are bad. In their world view, anything that is good is either conservative, republican, or other.

Republicans are caught in a bind with MLK.

He's too powerful, even nearly 40 years after his death, to be swiftboated, and if they were to try, it wouldn't wash the the majority of Americans who remember or can see what MLK did stand for.

They'd love to have his memory off the scene, but they can't accomplish that in they ways that they know.

So when someone carries on saying, essentially, what MLK would have said, and at a King-oriented event, they have to attack the event, and not the man or his demonstrably liberal political stance.

What was said at that event was truth in an old style, Martin Luther King way of telling the truth.

A truth that they cannot combat directly. So they tut-tut about the event, and caterwaul about decorum.

I'm surprised one of them hasn't slipped and used the term "uppity".
posted by Relay at 10:17 PM on February 8, 2006


When you call MLK a "liberal," you're just trying to align him with your political team, and I think that's creepy. Sorry if you don't like that. Republicans are evil. Fine. Let's all say it together. MLK was not evil. We can say that together, too.

And to the extent that "liberal" is defined by coming up with as many complementary adjectives you can to describe a person, sure, he was a "liberal." But the term is loaded and is crap, and I'm sorry that some people don't seem to realize that.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:22 PM on February 8, 2006


Don't be such an ignorant dick Porkins.

I'm not trying to align MLK with "my" team. King was, by his OWN definition a liberal.

Where the fuck were you educated and how old are you?

Did you miss that part about how America was founded by liberals? That Gandhi was a liberal? That democracy was a liberal idea that grew out from another liberal idea called the enlightenment (also know for other liberal ideas like self determination and equality)? That the equal rights movement was a liberal idea, and it's leaders like King and Abernathy were liberals? That the abolitionist movement was a liberal movement?

Don't give me this half-cocked bullshit kiddo, you're sounding like a guy who is WAY out of his depth and is talking about stuff he doesn't understand.
posted by Relay at 10:31 PM on February 8, 2006


wow.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:36 PM on February 8, 2006


Porkins, you're living in a dream world if you think MLK was somehow nonpartisan. I'm not even sure you know what partisanship is, except that it has yucky connotations. What on earth do you call this? Politics-free? Something that could equally be endorsed by liberals and conservatives alike? What?
posted by furiousthought at 10:36 PM on February 8, 2006


Unless you are in favor of rule by king or other dictator you are a Liberal.
posted by prak at 10:45 PM on February 8, 2006


When self-proclaimed "liberals" use the term, it's partisan and usually an attempt to elevate themselves above those to whom they think they're morally superior.

Right. And when self-proclaimed conservatives use the term "conservative" to describe themselves, it's of course because they are humble, salt-of-the-earth, regular joes.

Give me a break JekPorkins. You deserve every bit of the crap that Relay and furiousthought are giving you for that ill-thought out and uninformed excuse for political philosophy.
posted by pitchblende at 10:48 PM on February 8, 2006


Right. And when self-proclaimed conservatives use the term "conservative" to describe themselves, it's of course because they are humble, salt-of-the-earth, regular joes.

No, it's a politically loaded crap term, as well. But it wasn't the one being applied to MLK, so I didn't mention it.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:55 PM on February 8, 2006


So... "conservatives" demonize the word "liberal," while anybody who still self-applies it is a snot? I'd like to see you back up this assertion. Really, many people have abandoned the word in favor of the less demonized "progressive." Would you prefer to use that instead? What word would you use to encompass those political beliefs? Non-conservative? Non-asshole? Pinko?

If you're in favor of abolishing all political distinctions, you might as well abolish all scientific nomenclature as well. You just can't apply categories based on characteristics, right?
posted by brundlefly at 11:28 PM on February 8, 2006


What word would you use to encompass those political beliefs?

Which political beliefs, exactly, are you referring to? I think the terms "liberal" and "conservative" as they are commonly used don't really describe discreet sets of political beliefs as much as they describe two sides of a popular "us versus them" social construct. At some level, I think there are philosophical differences between the people who describe themselves as such, but I don't think either side would agree with the other's characterizations of what makes one "liberal" and the other "conservative."

I don't think we should abolish political distinctions. People who choose to engage in that deserve whatever labels they choose to give themselves.

But back to the question: Which political beliefs are you referring to? If you can tell me the discreet set of political beliefs, I can tell you what term, if any, I think best fits that set.

So... "conservatives" demonize the word "liberal," while anybody who still self-applies it is a snot? I'd like to see you back up this assertion.

Since that's not my assertion, I'm not sure why I would try to back it up. Though I'm not sure I've met many non-snots who use either term to self-describe.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:36 PM on February 8, 2006


Porkins, just STFU.
posted by Merlin at 11:39 PM on February 8, 2006


If you want to label the founding fathers as liberal according to how it is defined today remember that LBJ (the president when MLK was being bugged) was a democrat. Neither of yesterday's labels are accurate today. Besides tha,t most of the preceding comments are a load of horseshit. MLK and Coretta have meant a whole lot more to this country than what petty bullshit happened at the funeral. This and all discussions like it minimize their importance.
posted by Carbolic at 11:39 PM on February 8, 2006


At some level, I think there are philosophical differences between the people who describe themselves as such, but I don't think either side would agree with the other's characterizations of what makes one "liberal" and the other "conservative."

Of course there is. Does that mean applying one of those terms is meaningless? Really, it seems like this line of argument is meaningless. These are useful terms. "Black" and "white" are social constructs, both sides of which have disparate impressions of each other. Are those useless words? Even if they don't represent clear-cut biological differences, they are useful for describing culture. In an ideal world, yes, we would eliminate these divsions of race and political philosphy. But, here, back in reality, they are useful in framing debates. Which is, you know, what we're having here.

I don't think we should abolish political distinctions. People who choose to engage in that deserve whatever labels they choose to give themselves.

How very noble.

Since that's not my assertion, I'm not sure why I would try to back it up.

Oh really?

When self-proclaimed "liberals" use the term, it's partisan and usually an attempt to elevate themselves above those to whom they think they're morally superior.
posted by brundlefly at 12:15 AM on February 9, 2006


brundlefly, I think words are important. Words like "usually," which I used, and words like "anybody," which you used in recharacterizing my statement inaccurately. I stand by my statement, and I reject your (perhaps unintentional) mischaracterization of it.

But see, here's the really interesting part: I openly praise MLK. I openly criticize Bush and agree that the remarks at the funeral criticizing Bush were not out of place or inappropriate. But because I refuse to use a partisan term to describe MLK, you and others attack me and interpret every word I say as though I were the "enemy" or as though I were on the opposite side of the political pissing contest from you. It's almost like a "you're either with us or you're against us" mentality. Like if I don't "admit" that MLK was a "liberal," I must be one of those evil republicans, or I must at the very least be a moron with no education and no understanding of political philosophy.

And yet, you've made an assertion that the term "liberal" encompasses a set of political beliefs, but you haven't told me what political beliefs you think the term describes. I know a lot of very intelligent, educated and politically active people who use the terms "liberal" and "conservative" to describe themselves. With the exception of a couple of "hot button" legislative issues, I think they, for the most part, would describe themselves very similarly. Each believes that their own label signifies virtue, justice, goodness, fairness and equality. IMHO, they're both wrong.

But then, there's probably a political label for someone who thinks that partisans are stupid, too. I'm sure you'll tell me that it's some obscenity and try to insult me. What a great way to celebrate the lives of the Kings.
posted by JekPorkins at 12:31 AM on February 9, 2006


SCLC planned the Poor People's Campaign to be the most massive, widespread campaign of civil disobedience yet undertaken by a movement. They aimed to bring 1,500 protesters to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress and other governmental agencies for an "economic bill of rights." Specifically, the campaign requested a $30 billion anti-poverty package that would include a commitment to full employment, a guaranteed annual income measure, and increased construction of low-income housing.

I linked to this before: this is the campaign that King was working on in late 1967. Not only is it liberal, it would be considered extremely far left-wing in today's political landscape. Today's Democratic party can barely summon the gumption to raise the minimum wage, let alone call for such a thing as a guaranteed annual income, or intimate that it was even something anyone was thinking about.

It is also worth considering that "partisan" is at least as much of a political football word as "liberal" or "conservative" is these days, and using that as the basis for your political radar is not going to work in a two-party system, though reducing the heat of the political debate may itself be a laudable goal.
posted by furiousthought at 1:20 AM on February 9, 2006


So, you're saying that Carter's statement, "we only have to recall the colour of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi who are most devastated by Katrina to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans," was inappropriate?

When a civil rights leader dies, it is de regeur to point out that their fight -- and the reason for their fight -- still exists in today's world. There was nothing that Carter said, however, that was a direct attack on the policies of the Bush administration.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:48 AM on February 9, 2006


I would argue that King was a radical, albeit on the liberal side of the spectrum. But, of course, the noble tradition of radicalism in this country now invites as much hate as the once-noble tradition of liberalism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:54 AM on February 9, 2006


furiousthought writes "Porkins, you're living in a dream world if you think MLK was somehow nonpartisan. "


Let's not be too hard on JekPorkins. He takes his user name from a Star Wars character after all. It's safe to assume Jek was born after 1970.

If so, Jek grew up well after Dr. King had been assassinated while participating in a strike by the Memphis sanitation workers. and Jek won't remember that Dr. King wasn't just a fighter for Civil rights, but spoke as strongly against the Vietnam War and poverty.

Jek, likely a product of the American public schools, has only been taught about the "approved", non-controversial Dr. King. Yes, allowing blacks to use "white" water fountains, and go to "white" schools and vote, all of those things were controversial when Dr. King fought for them, but the genius of King and the Civil Rights movement is that those things are now wholly accepted in this country -- and it's considered essentially a sin now to be (at least publicly) racist.

The ironic result of Dr. King's success is to make him seem safely non-radical: kids of "JekPorkins's" age are taught that King was only about Civil Rights for blacks, and equal rights regardless of race is an safe and entirely accepted opinion today. As a result, these kids don't ever emotionally grasp that Dr. King was -- in his time -- a hated radical "troublemaker", much less a liberal. (Anymore than kids like JekPorkins "get" that the Founding Fathers in there time were seen as traitors and troublemakers and firebrands, not Solomons and Solons.)

Kids like JekPorkins aren't taught about King's fight against the Vietnam War and poverty, and for decent wages, precisely because those issues are still controversial enough that teaching them gets in the way of a safe hagiography of Dr. King.; one of the downsides of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day is that inevitably the schools teach about a larger than-, and not true to-, life, King. It's too controversial to call King a liberal, so the schools just skip that.

So let's not jump all over JekPorkins. He's a young kid and (through no fault of his own) inadequately educated by the public schools, who has no real grasp of who Dr. King was or what Dr. King stood for. To JekPorkins, Dr. King is a cardboard saint who exists to give Jek a day off every January, and surely no "radical" or "liberal".
posted by orthogonality at 5:12 AM on February 9, 2006


...their time....
posted by orthogonality at 5:25 AM on February 9, 2006


The truth hurts. If you're one of those hurt by it, maybe you ought to re-examine what it is YOU stand for.
posted by edverb at 6:53 AM on February 9, 2006


If you self-identify as a liberal and you are telling JekPorkins to shut up then I think you need to think long and hard about what liberal means. One possible reading might be that someone who is liberal would allow someone else to have an alternate viewpoint or ideology and respect that. If you support non-violence and peace like MLK then you shouldn't feel the need to heap abuse on other people of differing viewpoints, you should talk calmly and respectfully. You could try and find out why you differ and address that difference through dialogue. What you shouldn't do is throw cheap insults and deliberately misread the oppositions words so that you can act like you are channeling the holy spirit of liberty and goodliness.

That's what a liberal might do. If he actually respected what he stands for and wasn't looking for the outrage de jour.
posted by longbaugh at 7:19 AM on February 9, 2006


Place? Check.
Time? Check.

Too bad it takes a funeral for the media to cover voices like Rev. Lowrey.

Power generally doesn't like to hear people speaking truth...
posted by LavaLady at 7:36 AM on February 9, 2006


From US News & World Report:
"President Bush was only seconds into his State of the Union speech Tuesday night when we saw our first sign of blatant hypocrisy.

After Bush paid a lofty tribute to the late Coretta Scott King, Republicans and Democrats alike rose in applause. Behind the president, so did Vice President Cheney. He should have remained in his seat.

Perhaps Cheney would like everyone, including the TV viewers, to forget that as a congressman from Wyoming, his vote in 1979 against making Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday helped block the legislation. Four years later, he voted for it when it was an easier choice....

Following King's assassination in Memphis, the nation needed to honor his memory. It was a fitting and proper thing to do for members of Congress of both parties and both races, and from both South and North.

But Dick Cheney took a pass.

It was not a profile in courage for the same man who with his party ripped into Democrat John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, given that the vice president took five student deferments to sit out the conflict at home."
posted by ericb at 7:52 AM on February 9, 2006


Well, yes orthogonality, I think your cardboard cutout comments were right on, and they also speak to a much larger issue that I think is driving a lot of right wing "rhetoric".

A lot of the right wing's success over the past 25 years has been built on "framing the debate" as Karl Rove says.

There is also this drive of "creating your own reality" that folds into that as well that is, in my view, just patently dangerous.

The "media is liberal", democrats are "weak on defense" and so on. It's not a debate about the facts and what's actually happening on the ground, it's a debate about the PERCEPTIONS of what is happening.

And that's what is truly dangerous.

If you listen to a wide spectrum from the right, it quickly becomes apparent that they are almost completely divorced from facts and reality.

To them, things are going well in Iraq, it's just that the liberal media isn't telling us. There's no such thing as global warming to your average right winger. The disaster that was hurricane Katrina was the fault of lazy blacks that wouldn't leave. Clinton was more responsible for the Spt. 11 attacks then W. There is a war or terror, when in point of fact, that's the worst way to deal with the problem.

And so on.

The real problem here is that framing debates like that might win you the debate, or the election and you might get control of a government, but it's a shitty way to actually RUN a country.

If you really think that there are dragons out there, and that medical problems are the result of evil dwarves living inside the afflicted and that it is the work of the devil to study science, you're not going to have the societal wherewithal to deal with problems when they come up.

Conservatives have won the debate, and won the country that they now by and large control, but they also run a pretty good chance of sinking the whole thing.

Or as Martin Luther King once said:

"When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."
posted by Relay at 8:10 AM on February 9, 2006


Just for the record, anyone speaking at my funeral is free -- nay, encouraged to speak to the issues that were important to me during my earthly life. Heck, you don't even have to agree with me on those issues, as long as you fully and forthrightly acknowledge what my views were and my basis for holding them.

Also, there should be plenty of beer, barbecue and blues afterward.

That is all.
posted by lexalexander at 8:15 AM on February 9, 2006


If you really think that there are dragons out there, and that medical problems are the result of evil dwarves living inside the afflicted and that it is the work of the devil to study science, you're not going to have the societal wherewithal to deal with problems when they come up.

Framing the debate, indeed.

And the whole "don't trust anyone younger than 35" thing is new to me. It's an interesting take on the old axiom, I admit.

I guess I can understand that it would be easy to automatically discount someone else's opinion if you just go ahead and assume that they're ignorant and don't know anything about history. I am, however, well aware of what MLK stood for, fought for, and ultimately died for. As for the personal insults and statements about my intelligence and presumed education, thanks, I appreciate the fairness and topical commentary that really contributes to the discussion. If you can't find fault with the statements, then by all means, find imaginary fault with the speaker.

I can't say I'm surprised at the vitriolic reaction to my refusal to toe the party line. And gosh, I'm really a dumbass for criticizing partisanship - there, I said it for you. Obviously, I'm poorly educated and believe in dragons or something.

But I ask you: Am I a liberal? If not, why not? If so, why? What do you really think defines "liberal?"
posted by JekPorkins at 9:08 AM on February 9, 2006


The only type of person who would say, when asked if MLK is a liberal, "Well, I would like to think MLK is above partisan labeling; I would call him a great human being," is the type who is trying to exploit MLK. Everyone else knows and accepts that MLK was a lib. But bravo, Jek, you've proven yourself an excellent troll. And please, stop with the victimhood over all the insults. It's not an ad hom when your comments are analyzed and it's concluded that you're not altogether very bright. You asinine political correctness and obtuseness is patently offensive.
posted by effwerd at 9:56 AM on February 9, 2006


JekPorkins writes "But I ask you: Am I a liberal? If not, why not? If so, why? What do you really think defines 'liberal?'"



There are different kinds of liberals. There are Kennedy liberals, there are Humphrey liberals, there are Gene McCarthy liberals.

You I see as a dhoyt liberal.
posted by orthogonality at 9:59 AM on February 9, 2006


Oh for fuck's sake you guys. Do you deliberately look to start fights or what? effwerd - Jek is not a troll. Not even in the loosest possible sense of the word. ortho - that's unfair too. dhoyt was a tool (in many different ways) but Jek is trying to have an honest discussion whilst other people attempt to grill him on a statement which isn't even that bad. I think it's impressive that he managed to hold off on getting riled up for as long as he did. Why can't he try and concentrate on the good MLK did as a man without shouting out

"OOOOOoooh! And he was on MY team too. That means your team sucks! Pphhhllllbbbblllttt!"

It is my fervent hope that political discussion on MetaFilter either shuts the hell up or grows the hell up but it's increasingly unlikely as more and more people act like what I see to be liberal fundamentalists. We might support the same things but by god we go about it in different ways.
posted by longbaugh at 10:16 AM on February 9, 2006


what I see to be liberal fundamentalists.

What a joke.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:18 AM on February 9, 2006


They say that there's a time and a place, and while this was clearly not the place...

I'm sure that's what plenty of people said during the struggles MLK and Coretta Scott went through as part of the civil rights movement. We need more heroes like them today, willing to speak up at any moment.
posted by VulcanMike at 10:24 AM on February 9, 2006


longbaugh writes "dhoyt was a tool (in many different ways) but Jek is trying to have an honest discussion"


Perhaps he is. But JekPorkins seems to very very often make comments that seem trolling, baldly unsubtle comments that when challenged Jek complains we didn't see the subtle nuances of -- "it depends of what the meaning of 'is' is" -- with a "hey guys, really I'm a liberal, I'm just a contrarian". It reminds me of dhoyt.
posted by orthogonality at 10:26 AM on February 9, 2006


Let's not be too hard on JekPorkins. He takes his user name from a Star Wars character after all. It's safe to assume Jek was born after 1970.

Now I'm offended.

I was born after 1970!

* seethes, frets, worries about hairline *
posted by furiousthought at 10:29 AM on February 9, 2006


effwerd - Jek is not a troll.

Certainly he may not intend to be but the effect is the same. Take a thread about whether it's appropriate to make political statements at the funeral of Coretta King and turn it into a discussion about whether or not MLK is a liberal? That kind of derail is trollish to me.
posted by effwerd at 10:42 AM on February 9, 2006


Take a thread about whether it's appropriate to make political statements at the funeral of Coretta King and turn it into a discussion about whether or not MLK is a liberal?

I was not discussing whether or not MLK is a liberal. I pointed out that the entire question of whether or not MLK is a "liberal" is stupid, and that it appears to me to be an attempt to co-opt and exploit MLK's legacy for partisan political gains. I complained about exactly what you're now complaining about.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:55 AM on February 9, 2006


I don't believe that JekPorkins' primary concern is MLK's legacy.

But that's just me.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:25 AM on February 9, 2006


I was not discussing whether or not MLK is a liberal. I pointed out that the entire question of whether or not MLK is a "liberal" is stupid, and that it appears to me to be an attempt to co-opt and exploit MLK's legacy for partisan political gains.

Okay.

Take a thread about whether it's appropriate to make political statements at the funeral of Coretta King and turn it into a discussion about whether or not [it is appropriate to call] MLK is a liberal?

It's basically the same thing: you think it's inappropriate to call (define) him a liberal; you think MLK is above partisan labels (should not be defined as x or y). What's the difference? If he was a liberal then what's so patently offensive about calling him a liberal. You make some whacky accusation that calling MLK a lib is an attempt to leverage some political gain. You take this idea and use it to question the motives of those who say it. Do you actually want to discuss whether or not I truly intend to exploit MLK for partisan political gains? Or do you just want to call my motives into question and leave it at that?

Just because you've fallen for the Repub plan to polarize and denigrate the use of the word liberal doesn't mean the rest of us have to stand for it. Especially in a discussion about the appropriateness of bringing up these liberal ideals at the funeral of Coretta King.
posted by effwerd at 11:33 AM on February 9, 2006


Well sonofsamiam, since you dismissed my comment with virtually zero thought I hardly think you are the most analytical of people so we'll just chalk that up to a difference of opinion whilst it's still allowed, mkay?

Feel free to overreact at another of my comments because you don't know my posting history or politics - all it does is mark you as someone unwilling to listen to any other viewpoint (a fundamentalist if you will).
posted by longbaugh at 11:34 AM on February 9, 2006


I've probably read 80-90% of comments you've ever made on this site, longbaugh.

I think I have a handle on your posting history and politics.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:42 AM on February 9, 2006


effwerd, I'd be happy to discuss whether or not you truly intend to exploit MLK for partisan political gains, and the rest of your misinterpretation of my posts and attribution of partisan motives to my rejection of partisan labels. You and others here don't appear to have actually read anything that I've written here, or you wouldn't make statements about the denigration of the use of the word "liberal."

Send me an email, I'd love to discuss.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:44 AM on February 9, 2006


Words like "usually," which I used, and words like "anybody," which you used in recharacterizing my statement inaccurately. I stand by my statement, and I reject your (perhaps unintentional) mischaracterization of it.

What a subtle difference. OK, you say that people who self-apply "liberal" are usually snots. Again, I'd like to see you back up that assertion without jumping all over my wording.

I openly praise MLK. I openly criticize Bush and agree that the remarks at the funeral criticizing Bush were not out of place or inappropriate. But because I refuse to use a partisan term to describe MLK, you and others attack me and interpret every word I say as though I were the "enemy" or as though I were on the opposite side of the political pissing contest from you.

Uh... what? Go back and read my responses to you, Jek. Where have I attacked you? Where did I even mention MLK, much less his political leanings. Frankly I'm rather surprised that you've interpreted my rather tame responses as hostile. I don't describe myself as a liberal myself. All I'm pointing out to you is that it is a useful term.

Each believes that their own label signifies virtue, justice, goodness, fairness and equality.

Yeah, well, so did Stalinists. Does that mean it's gratuitously partisan to distinguish between "Stalinists," "conservatives," "liberals" and "anarchists?" After all, deep in side, they all have hopes and dreams and fuzzy bunnies and what not, right?
posted by brundlefly at 11:53 AM on February 9, 2006


sonofsamiam - Then I apologise for overreacting myself at your response. My reasoning behind the "liberal fundamentalists" statement is those unwilling to allow other viewpoints a forum and the continued one line partisan crap which adds nothing. For what it's worth I've read a great many of your comments over the years and I hope we agree on most things if not this. The plo chop is in the post ;)
posted by longbaugh at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2006


Jek, I'm not saying that the definitions of "liberal" and "conservative" haven't changed. But you were responding in a really asshole way to what Relay said. And stuff like this:

Maybe he wasn't an altruistic hero of justice like I imagine he was.

That's just ridiculous.
posted by 235w103 at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2006


I pointed out that the entire question of whether or not MLK is a "liberal" is stupid, and that it appears to me to be an attempt to co-opt and exploit MLK's legacy for partisan political gains.
Amen. Political labels today don't mean what they will in 40 years, and if you don't believe that then look up what leading Democrats had to say about race relations during Dr. King's lifetime.

It's a cheap ploy to align yourself with the good guys and your opponent with the bad guys. It's every bit as brain-dead as the argument that Republicans endorse the murder of doctors who perform abortions because John Salvi had a bumper sticker that said "Mike Dukakis Sucks." You might as well argue about which party Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln would join if they were alive today — and if you see value in that discussion, then I'll offer the alternative that you might as well argue about whether Batman could defeat Boba Fett. Either way, stick to the lollipop debate and leave substantive discussion to the adults.
posted by cribcage at 10:36 PM on February 17, 2006


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