Just so I’m clear on this new rule

The defenders of funeral politicization are saying sometimes crass is called for.

King never did stop being “inappropriate” and “tactless.” She spoke out against homophobia, even when some of her own friends wanted to look the other way. “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people, and I should stick to the issue of racial justice,” she said in 1998. “But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ “

Coretta Scott King was a woman commited to her causes, and yes, she spoke her mind, and that is how it should be. But she was also a woman of social sensibility, and she was a gracious person. For that matter, so was Dr. King. They were both people who understood that even when you’re sharing a platform at a gathering with those with whom you disagree, you treat them as you wish to be treated. It’s part of the whole “content of character” idea.

But the truth of the King’s human warmth and genius is to be pushed aside. “She was political,” is the cry, and so “political” slaps are fair game! Some writers are even trying to make us believe that Mrs. King would have “approved” of a guest at her funeral being dissed. You won’t convince me of it.

Anyway, we’re being told that this crassness is all appropriate and that we’d better get used to it – particularly if theworstpersonintheworld, George W. Bush, is around.

Get used to it, you say?

So…if, let’s say, tomorrow Jimmy Carter dies (or Ted Kennedy, or any liberal) and there is the funeral…if some conservatives get up and use the occasion to criticize liberal dignitaries in attendance, that will be okay? Because, after all, Carter, or Kennedy, or whoever “were political people?” Is this really what you want, folks?

I mean, chances are highly unlikely it would happen – conservatives tend not to do that sort of stuff – but if it ever did happen – then what? If, let’s just say, someday we’re watching the funeral of a former Democrat president, fer instance – and a conservative gets up and moves away from tribute and into politically charged speech…makes sneering remarks about 17% mortgage rates, or Iranian hostages, or bombing aspirin factories, or talking for years and years about WMD’s, or ignoring Rwanda, or lying under oath, or accessing FBI files, or whatever – that will be okay, right?

You won’t have a problem with it, because the funeral of a “political” person is now simply one more “political event,” right? And sometimes crassness is called for? Can even be touted as a virtue?

Well. If those are the new rules, don’t forget who made ‘em up.

But even if those ARE the new rules, I think most people with any class would decide they are options that are better left unplayed.

I’m no fan of Jimmy Carter’s – even though, God help me, I voted for him twice (I was young…) – but if he was in his coffin and the show was on the road, I’d be mortified beyond belief to see a conservative get up and use the occasion of a eulogy to make hay for whichever sitting president (Dem or Republican) was in attendence, and then justify it by saying “well, Carter was ‘political!’”

No, I would not approve. I think this is an ugly precedent, and maybe for once, just once, some liberals might stop making excuses for inappropriate behavior and consider that perhaps weddings and funerals are off-limits for political posturing and positioning.

To everything there is a season. Or, as Granny used to say, “there is a time and a place for everything…” Our culture has grown increasingly insensitive to that old adage, and things have coarsened. But there is surprising power in graciousness, which makes it worth cultivating, and those who advocate tossing it out for political expediency, well…they are depleting their own arsenals. Wars are not won with scud missiles, alone.

Update: Doug at Bogus Gold suggests that this new rule doesn’t play well with the up-for-grab votes:

Most people want some areas of life to be free from the partisan political actions of all sides. When someone becomes so lost within their own partisan echo-chamber that they lose sight of this, these kind of self-inflicted injuries seem to crop up (if you want a right-wing example, think of the self-defeating efforts of some pro-life activists to inject graphic images of aborted fetuses into unexpected places for maximum shock value).

The leftists defending the partisanship at the King funeral can convince themselves 100 times over that there was nothing at all amiss, and any negative press is evidence of a conspiracy by the “right-wing noise machine.” The fact is some people are reacting against partisanship itself and don’t care about the details. These people tend to comprise a large section of the “up for grabs” vote in elections. That’s where the real harm was done.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • anniebird

    There is unconscious brilliance in this post, Anchoress! I refer you to paragraph 6 (begins “I mean, chances are…) in which you refer not to a funeral, but a “FUME”RAL….wit overflowing, I’d say:)

  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    Love it. The ‘be careful for what you wish for’ notion is more than sublime- it is a challenge to those who bully.

    Neither Dr King oe Mrs King were bullies. They did not wear the badge of in your yo’ face ‘Niggah’- they wore badges of dignity and respect.

    There is nothing Al Sharpton, Kanye West, et al, can do, that will ever put them into the orbit of dignity and higher calling that was that of the King’s.

    They are pretenders to a legacy.

    Andy Young, former mayor of Atlanta and Dr King’s confidante and protege, said the King funeral was an embarassment.

    Two views- Sharpton and Young.

    Where the credibility lies isn’t hard to figure out.

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  • TheAnchoress

    The misspell has been repaired.

  • Larwyn

    Weds, Rush was on Cavuto, he said “Remember the movie “the Wedding-Crashers, well, the Democrats are “Funeral-Crashers”.

    But this is the point of my comment:

    On January 28th, 2006 American Thinker posted
    Gallantry: What Liberals can Learn from George W. Bush
    by Vasko Kohlmayer
    The other day, the American people saw George W. Bush once again addressing his critics in connection with the NSA’s surveillance program . Despite the fact that he has been accused of the worst of possible motives – of willfully and deliberately breaking the law to spy on his fellow citizens – the President tackled this and other gratuitous charges without a trace of anger or bitterness.

    A relative few presidents in this country’s history have endured the kind of vicious and spurious attacks that have been leveled against George Bush. Completely abandoning any sense of decorum or statesmanship, some of the highest officials in the Democratic Party have repeatedly called him a liar, a loser, an election-thief, an airhead, and a fraud. Regularly likened to Hitler, there have been books discussing his assassination. Recently he was even dubbed the world’s greatest terrorist by one of America’s once-prominent entertainers . There are just a few of examples. Sadly, such views are increasingly becoming part of the mainstream liberal outlook.

    But no matter how malicious they have been, George Bush has always faced his critics with affability and goodwill. Even his most bitter enemies – hating him as they do – would be hard pressed to fault him for being uncivil or personally unpleasant. He displays none of the unkindness, harshness or anger one would normally expect from someone engaged in a political struggle against those who frenziedly seek his destruction.

    In fact, Bush’s gallant manner has become something of a trademark. His comportment has served him well, for he has triumphed in almost every great battle he has fought, including two heatedly-fought national elections. His successes tend to drive his opponents into what can only be called spasms of political hysteria, and not knowing what else to do, they crank up even further their already outlandish rhetoric. Their near-madness is indeed a sight to behold.

    You’ll want to read and save the entire essay at: here
    MacsMind had this :

    UPDATE II: Quote from Rush Limbaugh today, “George W. Bush is a classy gentleman. He doesn’t care what these people say about him at Coretta Scott King’s funeral because he knows that they’re the ones that look very small and petty. It’s not affecting people’s perception of him.”
    Exactly the point – Character – something these clowns can’t comprehend. Whether it’s giving up our National Security Secrets or undermining our ability to protect ourselves, the left has made it’s true colors known and come 2006 and 2008 the Country will remember as well.
    UPDATE III: Yep Clueless! You know that they know they’re screwed when they try the Blame Gaming to reverse their Shaming.

    And Tues evening I received my Mullings E Mail:

    A Tale of Two Cities;
    A Tale of Two Men

    by Rich Galen
    Wednesday February 8, 2006
    snip
    * From the Washington Post’s coverage of the funeral service for
    Coretta Scott King:

    [Former President Jimmy] Carter delivered some of the most pointed
    comments, noting that Martin Luther King Jr. had been “the target
    of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance” in his
    day.
    * From the Atlantic Monthly:

    On October 10, 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy …
    authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin wiretapping
    the telephones of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. [To be fair,
    the Atlantic Monthly says this was "one of the most ignominious
    acts in modern American history."

    SNIP
    * From the New York Times coverage of the funeral service for
    Coretta Scott King:

    The Rev. Joseph Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian
    Leadership Conference with Dr. King [said pointedly]: “She extended
    Martin’s message against poverty, racism and war,” he said. “She
    deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way
    afar.”
    * From the pool report by Joe Curl of the Washington Times:

    Afterward, Lowery moved down the row of Presidents. Bush 43 shook
    his hand, and even pulled him in for a hug with a big smile and a
    twinkle in his eye.
    * Go back to the top and re-read the first bullet point. That tells
    you everything you need to know about Jimmy Carter.
    * Then re-read the pool report. That tells you everything you need
    to know about George W. Bush.

    * On a the mullings.

    Hope one of the 527′s that support Republican candidates uses the
    shot of Jimmy at the podium with Pres Bush and First Lady Laura
    seated behind him.

    The Democrats may want to grab a dictionary to look up Gallantry

    While most Americans look and say – that’s not a club I want to join.

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