"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'm a Black MAN and I Could Never be a VeteRAN.

I used to love to listen to Public Enemy. That was back in the days when I had absolutely no critical engagement with the message of music I liked.

(Of course, I have to backtrack a little and say the evangelical in me identified quite fully with the PE classic "Burn, Hollywood Burn.")

Eventually, I experienced my own growth of consciousness and realized I had to stop shelling out dollars to celebrities, fashionistas, television writers, and moviemakers sowing puerile crap into the tragically open (read nonreflective) minds of the millions. That was the end of me and Public Enemy.

I thought about the rap group today after reading through more puerile crap from the Rev. Joseph Lowery and former Pres. Carter spoken against the current President Bush. I said puerile crap. I should have said puerile, classless crap.

On this particular occasion, I'm taking more offense at the classlessness than the puerility. Coretta Scott King was being honored and mourned. Her legacy is rich. She was an ultra-effective preacher'/activist's/prophet's wife and suffered many indignities stoically. She was also a political figure who did not descend into one-note hackery. The lovely Mrs. King, for example, was a great advocate for school choice. Her creative engagement with the issues stood in stark contrast with the advanced boorishness of some of her contemporaries. I'll avoid naming names.

Do you think a lady like that would like to see an honored guest (the president, no less) called out and abused at her funeral? Do you think she would have given her permission? Do you think she would appreciate seeing her funeral turned into a rally? Paul Wellstone might have appreciated what was done at his funeral. Decent though he was, he also had enough of the "workers of the world unite" thing going on to enjoy it. I think Mrs. King would simply be appalled and probably is appalled.

She might also have noted that it was Bobby Kennedy, not George Bush uno or dos who had her husband's phone tapped. She might have been offended enough to call the bad hosts of her good name on the carpet.

22 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

In attempting to recapture some long-lost relevance, Rev. Lowery and former president Carter "jumped the shark."

Tlaloc said...

"Do you think a lady like that would like to see an honored guest (the president, no less) called out and abused at her funeral?"

One of the great lessons of the civil rights movement is that you need both the MLKs and the Malcolm Xs.

Carrot and stick. Iron fist and velvet glove. Without both society will not overcome it's inertia.

In other words why it's entirely possible that she would have deplored Bush being called for having the audacity to show up at her funeral doesn't mean that she'd be doing the best thing for the movement.

Hypocrites have to be exposed.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Its pretty clear (from Drudge) that the crowd heard what it wanted to hear. That said, the rabid hatred for another human on display at a funeral is, well, crass at best.

The actions of the "civil rights" crowd should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Not sure why Bush went, altho he was in somewhat of a catch-22.

James Elliott said...

Hunter, even Drudge doesn't make it out to be as dire as you do. Carter never even obliquely mentioned President Bush. The worst you can say about Carter's remarks is that he was pointing out that the old adage, "Le plus ce change, le plus ce meme chose" is still apropos.

From what Drudge "reports," Lowery was taking a swipe at all the presidents in attendance. Using current events to demonstrate the relevance of the decedent's legacy to today isn't inappropriate just because one of the architects happens to be present.

It's rather too easy to insert words into the mouthes of the dead for you to be drawing the conclusions you do.

James Elliott said...

"Its pretty clear (from Drudge)..."

Yeah, and therein lies the problem. Drudge is a gossip-columnist of the most puerile sort, not a reporter.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

You're right James ... it is entirely possible that none of the quotes were meant for Bush directly.

Hunter Baker said...

I heard it on the radio, James. It was as Drudge reported.

There are places where this sort of thing is okay and even expected. Political conventions are a good example.

But at the funeral of an individual universally respected? No.

We're looking at a complete lack of civility. I don't know Lowery from Adam, but I'm surprised at this from Jimmy Carter. I suppose I shouldn't be by now.

Tlaloc said...

"But at the funeral of an individual universally respected? No."

Ah but that's the key isn't it? Can you claim to respect someone when you've repudiated everything they stand for? See some of us call that "using" not "respecting."

It'd be as if I started using Reagan's image and claiming some right to his legacy even though I totally disagree with his politics and policies and think he was a criminal.

Kind of phoney and hypocritical huh?

James Elliott said...

It was as Drudge reported.

As Drudge reports it, and you link to, it still doesn't sound anything like the way to portray it. I'm sorry, Hunter, but I think you're, at best, engaging in a case of mild projection.

Hunter Baker said...

James, I just told you that I heard the speeches on the radio.

As to the other issue of whether Bush is some kind of repudiation of everything CSK stood for, that's a joke. For that to be true, Bush would have to be in favor of repealing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is of course, the key legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

By the way, he ain't in favor of that. We could rehearse the statistics again and discover that the GOP voted for that act in much higher proportionate numbers than did the Democrats.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Before Mr. Baker is accused of any oversensitivity, let's wait until the actual footage gets around. (Conservative radio is playing the hell out of the audio. It's bad, and so is the extended applause used to embarrass the president.)

Now in fairness, I think Dr. King would have been opposed to the Iraq War, and perhaps a mention might have been in order, with the speaker quieting the long applause. But no way Coretta King knew there were no WMDs, as asserted by (I assume) Rev. Lowery.

Nor is Jimmy Carter's assertion that there was a racial component to the Katrina response supported by the facts.

Mrs. King had ample opportunity to speak on these issues herself. That her funeral was hijacked to condemn, not inspire, was a missed opportunity for our entire nation.

(If there's a Democrat out there who's actually interested in winning the next election, a uniter not a divider, this is a Sister Soulja moment...)

Tlaloc said...

"As to the other issue of whether Bush is some kind of repudiation of everything CSK stood for, that's a joke. For that to be true, Bush would have to be in favor of repealing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is of course, the key legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr."

Coretta could reasonably be said to stand for equitable treatment of blacks, of women, and of gays.

For the GOP that's strike one, strike two, and strike three.



"By the way, he ain't in favor of that. We could rehearse the statistics again and discover that the GOP voted for that act in much higher proportionate numbers than did the Democrats."

Sure and then JE and I could remind you AGAIN that that was followed by a period where the republicans actively courted the racist southern democrats and incorporated them into their party. You always try to pretend that didn't happen. I know you know about it because we've told you about at least three times on this very blog and yet you continue to pretend that today's GOP is not the prefered home of racists.

Tlaloc said...

"But no way Coretta King knew there were no WMDs, as asserted by (I assume) Rev. Lowery."

Actually anyone who listened to the weapons inspectors knew it.



"Nor is Jimmy Carter's assertion that there was a racial component to the Katrina response supported by the facts."

Which facts are those, pray tell?

Hunter Baker said...
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Hunter Baker said...
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Ed Darrell said...

Wasn't it J. Edgar Hoover who tapped MLK's phone? I don't recall any role for the Kennedy's in that episode.

Hunter Baker said...

As Tom already mentioned in a comment to another post, the truth of the matter has been well-attested. RFK wiretapped King.

Tlaloc said...

Sorry Hunter, no:

"In October 1963, Hoover requested Atty. Gen. Kennedy to approve a wiretap on King's telephone. At that time, taps had to be approved by the attorney general and did not require court approval in the form of a warrant. The basis for the tap was King's close association with Stanley Levison, who Hoover said was a prominent member of the Communist Party with great influence over King in civil rights matters.

Bobby was furious. Hoover's charge that King was a pawn of the communists could potentially taint the whole movement and bring into question everything we were doing to vindicate the constitutional rights of black citizens. It was hard to think of an issue more explosive.

To understand just how explosive, one has to remember that Hoover was both popular and enormously powerful, with great support in Congress. Some of that support was based on admiration, some on fear that he had damaging personal information in his files. Much support came from conservative Southern Democrats, opposed to King, who chaired virtually every important congressional committee. Hoover was formally a subordinate of the attorney general who could, technically, fire and replace him. That's a big "technically." No attorney general, including RFK and myself when I succeeded him, could fully exercise control over him. And none did.

When Hoover asked for the wiretaps, Bobby consulted me (I was then his deputy) and Burke Marshall, head of the Civil Rights Division. Both of us agreed to the tap because we believed a refusal would lend credence to the allegation of communist influence, while permitting the tap, we hoped, would demonstrate the contrary. I think the decision was the right one, under the circumstances. But that doesn't mean that the tap was right. King was suspected of no crime, but the government invaded his privacy until I removed the tap two years later when I became attorney general. It also invaded the privacy of every person he talked to on that phone, not just Levinson."

Yes Kennedy approved the tap but it was utterly Hoover's brainchild.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-katzenbach16jan16,0,2941426.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

Matt Huisman said...

Yes Kennedy approved the tap but it was utterly Hoover's brainchild.

Hey, maybe Ashcroft will be able to use that one someday. I didn't want to sign it, but geez, Louie said I had to.

Tlaloc said...

"Hey, maybe Ashcroft will be able to use that one someday. I didn't want to sign it, but geez, Louie said I had to. "

get real. Hoover was a titan who had virtually the entire government under his thumb. Ashcroft is a flyspeck by comparison. I don't think you are recalling how enormously powerful Hoover was at the time and how much the FBI has been reduced since then.

This was back in the days of the COINTELPRO remember? FBI agents brazenly committing crimes and pinning them on counterculture groups. These were the days of Hoovers enormous blackmail files.

It's impossible to compare even a powerful man like Rove with the what Hoover could do with a phonecall.

James Elliott said...

"But no way Coretta King knew there were no WMDs, as asserted by (I assume) Rev. Lowery."

That's not what he said at all. He said, "Just as we knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, we know that there are still weapons of misdirection."

He was making an allusion based on current events. Jeez.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, James, I realized when I heard it again I somewhat misquoted him. What he actually said was far more confused and demagogic.

My apology.

This exchange from an interview is probative:

YORUBA RICHEN: You mention Rosa Parks and the move to end segregation in transportation, and you're a veteran of these movements. How does this (his support for "Camp Cindy" or whatever they called it) fit into that continuum of civil rights struggle?

REV. JOSEPH LOWERY: Well, I think it ties peace and justice. It ties love and justice. It ties faith and love. And we talk about faith-based ministries and movements. There can be no authentic faith without grounding in love. The Bible makes it clear that though I have faith to move mountains and have not love, I'm nothing, though I have faith to solve all mysteries and don't have love. And love is inclusive, love embraces justice, and so the movement in the 1950s against segregation for justice is very much akin to the movement for peace now and for justice, because without, as the young folks say, no justice, no peace.


What Billy Madison's teacher said applies here...