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

Friday, February 10, 2006

Noonan on King Funeral

A good deal has been said about the tone of the funeral for Corretta Scott King, mostly revolving around whether certain individuals disgraced themselves by turning it too political, and then about whether the complainers were being too sensitive. But it's interesting when ace speechwriter and opinionator Peggy Noonan comments on the affair, as she has done admirably in today's Opinion Journal. Noonan's conclusion is that the funeral was indeed a wonderful thing overall, and a great tribute not only to Mrs. King but to the nation in which she lived and worked:

Listen, I watched the funeral of Coretta Scott King for six hours Tuesday, from the pre-service commentary to the very last speech, and it was wonderful--spirited and moving, rousing and respectful, pugnacious and loving. The old lions of the great American civil rights movement of the 20th century were there, and standing tall. The old lionesses, too. There was preaching and speechifying and at the end I thought: This is how democracy ought to be, ought to look every day--full of the joy of argument, and marked by the moral certainty that here you can say what you think.

There was nothing prissy, nothing sissy about it. A former president, a softly gray-haired and chronically dyspeptic gentleman who seems to have judged the world to be just barely deserving of his presence, pointedly insulted a sitting president who was, in fact, sitting right behind him. The Clintons unveiled their 2008 campaign. A rhyming preacher, one of the old lions, a man of warmth and stature, freely used the occasion to verbally bop the sitting president on the head.

So what? This was the authentic sound of a vibrant democracy doing its thing. It was the exact opposite of the frightened and prissy attitude that if you draw a picture I don't like, I'll have to kill you.

It was: We do free speech here.

That funeral honored us, and the world could learn a lot from watching it. The U.S. government should send all six hours of it throughout the World Wide Web and to every country on earth, because it said more about who we are than any number of decorous U.N. speeches and formal diplomatic declarations.

29 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

I still think that tacky is as tacky does. The Carter/Lowery crap would have been brave if we were living in one of those countries where payback comes knocking on the door later that night, but we aren't and it ends up just being an opportunistic cheap shot. You wait for a funeral or some other event that generates press for its own independent reasons and you hijack it for political hackery. Boo, I say, plus hiss.

mdvoutlook.com said...

Hi Sam,

Peggy Noonan certainly has a point, and in light of certain offensive cartoons and worldwide conflagration it certainly is nice to know we "do free speech here" even at a funeral. But that doesn't change the classless and inappropriate behavior of certain Democrats. I'm not convinced that a funeral is the appropriate place to exercise democracy. There are a billion and one other places where Americans, even has been presidents and civil rights leaders, can say whatever they darn well please. Using a funeral as a bully pulpit to spew their propoganda against the president, sitting right behind them no less, doesn't really bring the joy of democracy to my heart.

Matt Huisman said...
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Matt Huisman said...

Ms. Peggy>> That funeral honored us, and the world could learn a lot from watching it...because it said more about who we are than any number of decorous U.N. speeches and formal diplomatic declarations.

I'm quite certain a reflective look at the lives of the King's would have been enough to honor us. What happened at the funeral did not.

Imagine if President Bush had fully exercised his wonderful right to free speech - I doubt anyone would have made the same point as Ms. Noonan. As far as I'm concerned, the family has the right to decide what the tone for a funeral should be. If they want to Wellstone the thing, go right ahead. But I fail to see how it is a credit to them to invite the target of their venom to come and play by a different set of rules than the others.

As for the Wellstone-funeral model in general, I fail to see how it fully honors the deceased or helps others to appropriately mourn. It is a person that you are gathering to remember, not a cog in the movement. But I suppose it depends on which you feel is more significant.

Tlaloc said...

"Using a funeral as a bully pulpit to spew their propoganda against the president, sitting right behind them no less, doesn't really bring the joy of democracy to my heart."

Of course another way to look at it is that this was their only chance to actually say something to the presidnet since he is famously insulated from any information not carefully screened by his inner circle.

Something to consider. Maybe if Bush listened a bit more people wouldn't have felt it needed to make their point at this occasion. Probably not, but maybe.

mdvoutlook.com said...

tlaloc, you need to say no to drugs. Yea, America is such a terrible police state where law abiding citizens have to worry about jack booted thugs breaking down their doors at night to steal them away into prison. Do you work for the DNC? Sounds an awful lot like Democratic talking points to me, not to mention sheer idiocy. I'm sure the fact that we are at war with Islamic fascists who want to destroy our civilization isn't relevant to you.

And it looks like you've bought the "bubble" argument about the president. Who says he is "famously insulated." If Bush listened a bit more? Oh yea, those are on the MSM/DNC talking points as well.You, my friend, are a walking cliche. Can anyone out there find me an honest liberal? One who doesn't make a partisan argument out of everything? No doubt they are an endangered species.

Karnick said...

While you won't find a stronger fighter for free speech anywhere else, I also believe that people should more discretion when speaking. Carter and Lowery, though fully entitled to voice their opinions, should have saved it for another forum.

Karnick said...

"tlaloc, you need to say no to drugs."

Let's stay civil, please. While I too disagree with Tlaloc I'm sure we can voice our opinions without attacking him personally.

James Elliott said...

Well, this is a first: I agree with Peggy Noonan.

Holy crap.

James Elliott said...

tlaloc, you need to say no to drugs.

Yeah, that's in the spirit of raising the quality of discourse around here. Bravo.

On another note: I've noted that the "classless" crowd has ignored one important, salient fact in the whole matter: Coretta Scott King was an outspoken opponent of the War on Iraq.

Adds a new dimension, doesn't it?

James Elliott said...

I'm sure the fact that we are at war with Islamic fascists who want to destroy our civilization isn't relevant to you.

Can't... stop... laughing. Must... reach... inhaler! Death... imminent...

Ahhhh. Better. That "apocalyptic clash of civilizations" stuff gets me every time.

mdvoutlook.com said...

James, you are so witty. I guess that is how you raise the level of discourse. I'll have to try it sometime, although I'm sure I couldn't compete with you. And when somebody appears to be on drugs, it is in their best interest for you to warn them about the dangers. Anyone who thinks the war against Islamic radicalism, or whatever you want to call is, is funny, is . . . well, I wouldn't want to lower the level of discourse that much.

James Elliott said...

James, you are so witty.

I am, aren't I? It's a gift.

I'll have to try it sometime, although I'm sure I couldn't compete with you.

Don't sell yourself short. You show promise with your pithy attempt at retaining some dignity here. Though, yes, I do set the bar rather high.

And when somebody appears to be on drugs, it is in their best interest for you to warn them about the dangers.

Ah, but what evidence do you have that Tlaloc is on drugs? For example, he does not type this: "thehfalkehreakhtaeioweur." Or even this: "Spiders! Spiders everywhere! Crawling on me!"

Anyone who thinks the war against Islamic radicalism, or whatever you want to call is, is funny, is . . . well, I wouldn't want to lower the level of discourse that much.

The war isn't funny. The brand of faulty thinking that leads people to conclude that we are in a war for our very survival as a culture is, however, pretty darn amusing. Allow me to make one thing very clear to you, sir: The only ways in which our culture, our heritage, and our way of life are in danger come from ourselves. In no way has any response this country has taken been forced upon it. They were all chosen willfully and consciously by people who are afraid. The only difference in the world between 9/10/01 and 9/12/01 is that most people became suddenly aware that monsters lurked in the woods. They are in no more danger today than you were then. They're just more aware, and consequently scared. What do people do when they're afraid? They react, often without thinking about consequences or potential, unintended harm.

9/11 reduced a large quivering mass of this country's population into scared animals and children. Every danger to our culture that has arisen since then has done so as a result of our actions, not someone else's.

Tlaloc said...

"tlaloc, you need to say no to drugs. Yea, America is such a terrible police state where law abiding citizens have to worry about jack booted thugs breaking down their doors at night to steal them away into prison."

Are you disputing that the administration had an american citizen held without trial? His name Padilla.

Do you deny that the administration has sanctioned torture of prisoners?

Do you deny the state department declared Al-Manar a terrorist group when their only crime is to be a Hezbolla sympathizing TV station?

Feel free to dispute any of these and I'll happily provide you the links.



"Do you work for the DNC? Sounds an awful lot like Democratic talking points to me, not to mention sheer idiocy."

I'm happy to document any of these claims you want to dispute. As for the democrats I have no great love for them. While I lean toward progressive politics the democrat party are a pretty lame and ineffectual organization and only slightly less corrupt than the republican party.



"And it looks like you've bought the "bubble" argument about the president. Who says he is "famously insulated.""

Gosh pretty much everyone who has any contact with the whitehouse has remarked on how isolated the president is. Besides which we can independently verify the matter. How often doe the president speak before audiences that aren't entirely made up of supporters? Almost never. How often does he take questions from audiences? Rarely. And the combination: how often does he take questions from an audience not entirely made of Bush supporters? I can think of one occasion in five years. One.

Hunter Baker said...

The scary thing, MVD, is that the bugbear is stark, raving sober. He's just THAT wrong about the nation in which he lives and exercises his right of speech about ENDLESSLY.

I wonder if I could take custody of Al Hassad el Kasama in exchange for the gummint taking Tlaloc off my hands. Hmmmmmmmm. . .

Gotta make a call, right back.

Tlaloc said...

"The scary thing, MVD, is that the bugbear is stark, raving sober. He's just THAT wrong about the nation in which he lives and exercises his right of speech about ENDLESSLY."

Hunter, were any of my claims false? Any of them? Point to which ever one you find the most laughable and I'll happily document it for you.

These are facts. Ignoring them in favor of some myth about the nature of america is not rational.

Tlaloc said...

"Only one side was free to speak its mind."

What exactly prevented bush from saying what he wanted to?

Tom Van Dyke said...

I disagree with Ms. Noonan and with mr. Huisman. Only one side was free to speak its mind, and the other took advantage of that.

Devang said...

I disagree with Ms. Noonan. Only one side was free to speak its mind. The other was bound, gagged, and beaten.

That's why the president hasn't been attending NAACP conventions. He was bound, gagged and beaten!

I believe this was more ideology than politics, nothing wrong with stating the ideas someone stood for at a funeral. The state of affairs brought up were all too appropriate, and clearly vast audience agreed. When republicans bring up ideology along with the current state of affairs, they come up with 'death tax' and when democrats do it, it becomes political?

As the cliche goes, political discourse in this country has narrowed down to everyone being disagreeable. This issue of talking after-the-fact is just another example. I'll commend Mrs. Noonan for taking the h&$*% road (trying to keep to recent guidelines here...).

Matt Huisman said...

Only one side was free to speak its mind, and the other took advantage of that.

Maybe I didn't say it well, but that was my point exactly. If Bush throws in a few comebacks, not even Ms. Noonan would have had the idea that free speech was so beautiful. Hence the reference to "play[ing] by a different set of rules".

Hunter Baker said...

Forgive me for not fleshing out the picture, T. You are arguing that the exceptional conditions used in dealing with (noncitizen)individuals involved with terror are applicable to speakers like Jimmy Carter, Joseph Lowery, or even you. Not likely.

Hunter Baker said...
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Tom Van Dyke said...

To clear up my above comment, I disagree with Ms. Noonan and agree with Mr. Huisman. He expressed himself quite well.

I also edited my comment to drop "bound, gagged, and beaten," as I anticipated it would be cleverly used for debating points. If my deliveries are going to be smacked, I prefer they be my best pitch. I left that one out over the middle of the plate and deserved what I got.

It was propriety that prevented Bush from speaking his mind. It is an inoperative concept to many, so there's no point in explaining it. But had he used the proceedings to further his political agenda, rest assured that the spitstorm would have buried him, and rightfully so, to my mind.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

It was propriety that prevented Bush from speaking his mind.

Great use of language ... certainly better than restraint.

James Elliott said...

He was bound, gagged and beaten!

This image warms my belly as though the sun were inside it.

mdvoutlook.com said...

Dearest T, you may have a link for everything, but that doesn't necessarily prove anything you say has any merit whatsoever. People like you take isolated incidents to attempt to prove some vast consipiracy. All those points you make only serve to prove you lack perspective, and that you have an idological ax to grind with this president.

You may not love the Democrats or consider yourself one, but you sound like an ally. You sure you don't have a copy of the talking points?

As for the canard of Bush being out of touch or some such garbage, that is the MSM/liberal template of any conservative who doesn't play the Washington game, and doesn't "grow" in office. They said the same about Reagan. You can believe whatever you want, if it makes you feel good. Don't make you right.

And while I'm on a roll, James, nobody said that Western civilization is going to expire anytime soon. And I have not met many scared animals, and I bet you haven't either, but the danger to our civilation is very real, and the faulty thinking is going on inside your obviously very productive brain. Looked what happened to our economy after 9/11, and after Katrina. Gas prices went up to $3 and people were freaking out. A major terrorist attack, a WMD attack can have major consquences whether you accept that or not. Democrats and liberals, like you and T, think Bush is a bigger danger to America then Islamic radical terrorists. Obviously irrational fear isn't productive, but libs need to get over their irrational fear of Bush.

James Elliott said...

Dearest T, you may have a link for everything, but that doesn't necessarily prove anything you say has any merit whatsoever. People like you take isolated incidents to attempt to prove some vast consipiracy. All those points you make only serve to prove you lack perspective, and that you have an idological ax to grind...

Pot, meet kettle. "Hey, you're black!"

On a more serious note, mdvoutlook, perhaps you could pause for a moment and turn that baleful gaze inward. Don't be afraid. You won't bite. Your very first sentence falls squarely into the realm of, "You can keep your facts, I've got the Truth!" How is Tlaloc looking at this through any more of an ideological lens than you are demonstrating yourself? You're taking facts you don't like and projecting malicious or mendacious intent upon the fact-finders for no more serious a crime than not agreeing with your ideological point of view. How is this any less subjective than anything you have accused Tlaloc of?

And while I'm on a roll, James, nobody said that Western civilization is going to expire anytime soon. And I have not met many scared animals, and I bet you haven't either, but the danger to our civilation is very real, and the faulty thinking is going on inside your obviously very productive brain.

Take a look at your first sentence. Take a look at your last sentence. Which one is it? Consistency is all I ask for. And yes, my brain is very productive. Momma always said, "My, you have such a productive brain, Jimmy!"

Looked what happened to our economy after 9/11, and after Katrina. Gas prices went up to $3 and people were freaking out. A major terrorist attack, a WMD attack can have major consquences whether you accept that or not. Democrats and liberals, like you and T, think Bush is a bigger danger to America then Islamic radical terrorists.

Hm? People were freaking out, eh? This disagrees with what I said about fear-based responses how?
You set up a straw man here; I never said there weren't major consequences. I said that our civilization wasn't in mortal danger. That encompasses a whole lot more than the economy or a city. The country can adapt to increased gas prices and even a WMD attack. They will temporarily alter our way of life, sure, even affect many of us on a personal level. But civilization, especially one founded on ideals like our own, can survive that. Rome only fell to the Visigoths when it was already rotted from within. In this, you are absolutely correct that I, and people who think like I do on both sides of the aisle, view the current administration as a far more virulent danger to that civilization than any radical terrorist. Their actions have a far more serious chance of substantially changing our system of governance and the ideals we live under than any terrorist could dream of. Further, we have seen that this administration is wholly willing to undertake those actions. The terrorists can only kill us, not change us. Only we, by accepting actions based on fear, vengeance, and unbridled power, can accomplish that change. Look to threats within before closing your eyes and shielding yourself from the threats without.

Tlaloc said...

"You are arguing that the exceptional conditions used in dealing with (noncitizen)individuals involved with terror are applicable to speakers like Jimmy Carter, Joseph Lowery, or even you. Not likely."

certainly true, but as they say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We've taken those first steps (a surprising number of them) and already done things utterly unthinkable a mere decade ago.

If ten years ago someone had told you the president would brazenly declare that he could torture helpless prisoners no matter what laws congress passed would you not have been outraged? It would have been completely unacceptable to both left and right.

People often wonder how fascist regimes manage to get going. Why didn't the poeple object. We'll you are seeing it in operation right now. Each individual step is small enough that people convince themselves it's not a big deal.

Til they look back later...

tbmbuzz said...

I, and people who think like I do on both sides of the aisle, view the current administration as a far more virulent danger to that civilization than any radical terrorist. Their actions have a far more serious chance of substantially changing our system of governance and the ideals we live under than any terrorist could dream of.

Funny, I was just thinking the same thing about the Left!

Hillary Clinton - the most dangerous man in America.


ROTFL!