Coretta Scott King Funeral Fallout

Ken AshfordRaceLeave a Comment

BushfuneralshameWingnuts are indignant at the fact that the funeral for Coretta Scott King was "marred" by politics, virtually ignoring the fact that King herself (even after her husband’s death) was an outspoken leader on political and social issues, including her opposition to the Iraq War.

The photo at the right is when Rev. Lowry talks about poverty and finding no "weapons of mass destruction".  Laura Bush is not amused.

The Talent Show says it precisely:

Face it conservatives, Coretta Scott King was a liberal. While civil rights heroes like the Kings were leading a non-violent struggle for equality, your political heroes were finding new ways to court southern racists away from the Democratic party. The Republican journey to victory was fueled by the votes of bigots, so it’s a little late in the game to start acting like you have the right to speak for the leaders of a movement you fought against.

Pam Spaulding points out the wingnuts’ hypocrisy, seeing as how politics were injected into the funeral of Ronald Reagan by Thatcher:

And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan’s life was providential, when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.

Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.

Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.

Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War – not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.

UPDATE:  The Carpetbagger makes an excellant point, namely, why is the right so offended by what was said at the King funeral?

For example, Carter talked about the "color of the faces" of the Katrina victims.  He received a standing ovation from the crowd, including Bush himself.  How could that be a swipe at Bush?

Carter also talked about how MLK and Coretta were electronically surveilled illegally:

Why, exactly, was this over the top? The King family was the target of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance. It was not only an example of government abuse, it was also no doubt a strain on the family and was yet another hurdle for the Kings to overcome.

As I see it, if the conservative critics are going to complain, they should elaborate on why they were offended. It’s not as if they agree with the secret surveillance of the King family, right? Why, then, should they be so defensive about Carter’s criticisms of secret government wiretapping? Is there a certain legally-dubious surveillance program they’re defensive about?

He adds:

Several speakers honored King, celebrated her life, and honored the values and principles to which she dedicated her life. The fact that those values and principles happen to be diametrically in opposition to Bush and his conservative agenda was an inconvenient coincidence for a clearly-uncomfortable president, but the point of the eulogies wasn’t to attack Bush; it was to pay tribute to King and her beliefs.

ANOTHER UPDATE:  For all the wingnuts who think they know how a proper funeral for a civil rights leader should be, perhaps they ought to listen to the words of Dr. King himself, on the subject of what he would like said at his own funeral:

I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. 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. I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness.

Yup.  Even the dead sometimes what their eulogies to be about political and social issues.

In any event, the idea that white conservatives should tell black civil rights leaders how to behave at funerals is offensive.  I guess Reverand Lowry strayed from the plantation.

FINAL WORD:  Blogometer has a nice round-up of the blogosphere’s sharp exchange on the King funeral, and tries to explain how "the right" and "the left" view the King legacy:

But the fight goes deeper than the usual partisan divide, and is more specific than overall racial differences. It’s not black and white per se; it’s about the very nature of Dr. King’s legacy and how the right and left understand it.

For the right, non-violence was King’s effective means to the worthy end of achieving racial equality; to the left, non-violence and racial equality are integral to one another. Just as conservatives understand King’s legacy to be about the civil rights movement, liberals understand his legacy to be about peace more broadly. No conservative considers him or herself heir to the legacy of Bull Connor and George Wallace, but a significant percentage of liberal bloggers do. The right feel they too are the heirs of King’s legacy; conservatives often hold up his famous declaration that people should "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" as an argument against racial quotas, even though King had expressed support for affirmative action policies.