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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Coretta King Funeral

It is highly ironic that the deaths of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and of his wife, Coretta King, 38 years later, should have been immediately observed by their numerous admirers in some extremely inappropriate ways.

As soon as word of King's assassination spread, so did riots break out in a huge assortment of U.S. cities. The passing of a man who, throughout his highly illustrious career as an advocate of civil rights, had engaged in a strict policy of nonviolence was marked by violence on a country-wide scale that had never been seen before in one day and hasn't since.

During that dark first week of April 1968 I thought that those riots engaged in by people whose freedom and rights King had tried so hard to obtain and to ensure were totally disgraceful, and I still think so today, no matter how much his inheritors tried to softpedal things at the time. I am absolutely certain that King would have bitterly disapproved of having his death marked by people destroying large parts of their own neighborhoods with fire, bricks, and looting on a grand scale, though even he would probably have found ways to avoid saying so.

In a more genteel but still painful way, his wife's following him into the afterlife or Heaven or wherever a few days ago was similarly marked by an occasion that in my book was badly uncalled for: a funeral that lasted six long hours. Six hours!

Sitting through a ceremony for six hours straight, especially one as dreadful as a funeral, is my idea of torture personified, and that goes for any funeral of anybody, no matter how much they might have achieved in life.

Randi Rhodes, the fiery Air America commentator, has spent a lot of time taking great delight in the fact that GW Bush, along with his father and wife, had to endure that exquisite torture (my words, not hers). She happily kept speaking of how uncomfortable he looked, especially while some of the eulogists took the opportunity to throw in jabs of disapproval at some of his policies.

I disapprove of GW Bush so much that I don't even recognize him as being the U.S. President. Nearly all his major acts committed while sitting in the Oval Office strike me as being criminal, and that is especially true of the invasion he ordered of Iraq. Yet sitting through an occasion like that funeral is something that I would never wish on anyone.

Actually I was surprised that Bush accepted the invitation to attend. What happened? Did he find himself in a trap, sprung by the so-called Vice Prez, Dick Cheney, whose office would normally cause him to be the one who would represent the Administration at such events? Cheney didn't come, and he probably told his boss that wild horses couldn't make him. Or maybe he pleaded his weak heart. Or maybe Bush was done in simply by the presence of three of his predecessors in the Oval Office, including his father.

Aside from his family members, there were probably only six Bush votes in that whole 10,000 seat church, and it's always been clear that he only goes to places and supports things that in the past favored him overwhelmingly. That's one reason why the inner city of New Orleans is having so much trouble getting help in recovering from that killer hurricane. In Atlanta, while his Secret Service protectors chafed at a distance, he was literally engulfed by those to whom he had hitherto been indifferent ....for six interminable hours!

If they have any sense at all, future candidates will take note of this event and plan ahead. Presidents of any persuasion get roped into a lot of stuff that can't be pleasant to them, but this was over and above most torture observances. I guess the first thing future Presidents can do is to ensure themselves of having a Vice with a good heart -- good in every sense of the word -- a definition that doesn't fit that Cheney bird in any way.

PS: The news this morning is that Cheney accidentally injured one of his buddies during a hunting trip in Texas yesterday, by firing at him with a shotgun -- a man 78 years old. Ho-hum. And what else is new?


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