Wednesday, February 08, 2006

On "appropriate" funeral behavior

Guess I'm not done talking about this. When I hear that so many people (see here and here for examples, are giving the "wag of the finger" to the people who discussed political issues at the funeral of a known *activist*, whose *activist* husband was murdered nearly 40 years ago, I am *almost* at a loss for words. Luckily, plenty of other people are not.

Check out this roundup by Chuck Currie:

Bush 2007 Budget Rejects Christians Values Of Hope And Justice

From Paul Wellstone to Coretta King by Marty Kaplan

Republicans love playing the civility card. I wonder where these Emily Posts were when the Pentagon lied about the circumstances of Pat Tillman's death at his funeral. I don't recall them denouncing Pat Robertson -- while the World Trade Center towers were still smoldering -- attributing 9/11 deaths to God's revenge on liberalism. Republicans get all huffy, and invoke Marquess of Queensbury rules, when it suits them, but somehow that's never when they're spreading malicious lies and assassinating their living opponents' characters.

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? If they should outlive me, I don't expect that Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter would come to my funeral. But if they or their kind did, I'd hope that at least one of the speakers would have the cojones to call them what they really are. Nicely, of course.

Oh, and this is priceless...Tucker Carlson, in his interview with Rev. Joseph Lowery, said: it seemed very uncomfortable to say something like that in a funeral with the president right there. It seemed like bad manners.

You know what's "bad manners", Tucker? The fact that Bush sent this budget that increases defense spending while cutting aid for those that Bush's favorite philosopher called "the least of these", *after* Mrs. King died, but *before* showing up at her funeral. Actually, "bad manners" isn't even close to being a strong enough word for the unmitigated gall Bush displayed here. Coretta Scott King spent decades fighting for the "least of these", and you thought maybe no one should mention the harm Bush is doing to those very people, because it might make some (guilty) people squirm in their seats?

And, "uncomfortable"? I bet the Katrina evacuees who are being thrown out of their temporary housing feel more than a little bit uncomfortable. So do people without adequate health care, and without enough food to eat. Oh yeah, and people who are hurt and killed in Bush's Iraq war because this administration couldn't manage to send them effective body armor.

Fortunately, Rev. Lowery was not at a loss for words, and he was even able to use his polite words when responding to Tucker (I can't imagine managing to do so myself).
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.

Well there you go. Perfect response--would someone kindly make sure this is sent to all Democrats who are in a position to be interviewed about this? Because that, right there, is the correct response. And any so-called Democrat giving a namby-pamby Republican pundit-appeasing response should get a *serious* metaphorical butt-kicking.

And, one more thing, Atrios has just said:
When I die, please let it be known that my family and friends are entitled to conduct my funeral in any manner they see fit, including but not limited to talking about the things which were important to me in life.

I would say, why not go one better? Write your *own* statement, that you would like read at your funeral or memorial service. Include it with your will. Have it notorized, or whatever else you'd need to do to prove that these are *exactly* the words you want spoken. That way, no one else can be accused of doing the "politicizing".

Most of us, of course, are unlikely to have a state funeral with Bush in attendance. Maybe we should just write ours anyway--speaking truth to power in our own voices.

Alternate link for comments

No comments:

Post a Comment