Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Passion, Poise, Politics, and Phony Outrage

The funeral for the late, great Coretta Scott King was today. Let me first start by saying that she was truly an American hero, and a woman of strength, dignity and character. Not only did she help strengthen her husband's legacy, she forged her own, and that of the whole King family. The funeral was great and majestic event, even including the supposedly awkward political moments. I'll not dwell on this for too long, because the phony outrage has already worn me out.

Conservatives and Republicans are up in arms over many of the political remarks that were made, many of them interpreted as direct personal attacks on Bush. The Rev. Joseph Lowery made mention of Coretta King's opposition to war in general, and the Iraq war in particular, and made a remark about the lack of WMDs over there, and "weapons of misdirection over here," referring to poverty and other issues. Jimmy Carter also spoke, and made references to Katrina, and the fact that the King's were illegally wiretapped (a reference to the current NSA spy program). He also didn't shake Bush's hand. Ted Kennedy made a great, pretty nonpolitical speech (one of the best ones), and Bill Clinton was at his usual best.

Speaking of Clinton's speech, many felt that he was trying to prop up his wife politically. It must be pointed out that the audience fueled that whole moment. The fact is, the Republicans here are full of phony outrage. With Carter being the possible exception, no one was trying to make this a Bush-bashing event. Coretta King was committed to very real issues, many of them controversial, and in honoring her, many speakers simply spoke to that. It was political, but it was kinda supposed to be. I do have to admit though, that it must have been a bit awkward for Bush, hearing criticisms of his policies (or at least indirect ones), with him sitting right there. In my view, he was a good sport, and I really think it was all about the spirit of the occasion.

Keep in mind also, that nobody ever mentioned Bush by name, except in praise and in a welcoming fashion. There were no calls for troop withdrawal from Iraq (thank God), and let's not forget, nothing that was said was really false-there were no WMDs, and the Kings were wiretapped. I think all in all, it was a moving and respectful day, and the Republicans are trying being overly sensitive here. After all, in the minds of some, if you criticize the President's tie, you're a traitor.

Conservatives seem to want to make a political issue out of this. Some suggest this marred the whole event, comparing it to the legitimately over-political Wellstone memorial. Tucker Carlson says the focus was too much on the politics of the moment. It might seem that way, if you only focus on those couple of speakers. Some accuse the Democrats of trying to use this for political points, as if the King family conspired with the DNC in some shadowy back room, and worked out some sinister plan. This is of course, absurd.

Many suggest that some remarks were out of line, and maybe some were, but the idea that Republican Bush-coddlers are going to try to stain this funeral, because Bush got zinged about wiretaps is disgusting. I have to wonder, are they really THAT passionate about the NSA spying program? Maybe that explains why Rove has threatened to blacklist any Republican who doesn't back the plan.

Talk about your weapons of misdirection.

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