Thursday, February 16, 2006

Lawmakers off target in ripping King funeral column

I've been hearing so much about the activities of black and Democratic leaders at Coretta Scott King's funeral last week. From what I have gather the people who spoke at her funeral took some shots at President Bush who was in attendance. When they took their shots at his policies especially with the war in Iraq, he was said to have smiled but was uncomfortable. He knew what he might be getting into of course if he had not attended well he wouldn't have won there either.

So apparently my favorite columnist Mary Mitchell had something to say about what happened at Mrs. King's funeral in Atlanta. I didn't see her column from February 9th until today. This immediately followed the services. Apparently she has a response for those naysayers who disagreed with what she said in this column. There was even a header in this earlier column, No respect for the president.

I mean wow she launched into those involved at the funeral. I'm not sure if even Bill Clinton was a target of her disappointment. Check this out...

As often occurs when Former President Bill Clinton shows up, black folks acted as if he had emancipated the slaves.

A huge cheer went up as he reached the open area near Mrs. King's casket, and the crowd gave him a thunderous standing ovation when he approached the dais to speak with his wife, the New York Times reported.

Although Clinton gave the most poignant remarks about Coretta, reminding mourners that she was a woman with hopes and dreams and disappointments, he couldn't resist setting his wife up for some adoration.

A master at manipulating black folks' emotions, Clinton began his remarks by saying, "I'm honored to be here with my president, and my former presidents.''

"Then he looked at Mrs. Clinton, his unspoken words seeming to suggest that he wanted to say future president too," the New York Times reported. The crowd began cheering.
Oh she even mentions the first lady's reaction to some of the jabs taken by such people as Jimmy Carter and Rev. Joseph Lowery...
A photographer captured Laura Bush's body language. As the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, launched into his tirade, the first lady squinted, pursed her lips and folded herself into the form of a disapproving mom.
Basically Ms. Mitchell closes out her earlier column with...
Have we lost our dignity? Have we abandoned our traditions?

Tuesday wasn't Dr. Martin Luther King's Day or anyone else's day. It was Coretta Scott King's Day. Her funeral was supposed to be a celebration of her life, not a sound bite or a photo op.

If politicians and civil rights leaders wanted to call Bush out, they should have called him at the White House.
This is what I get for not religiously reading the Sun-Times on line. So let's fast forward to today's column. Someone didn't like her remarks. A south side state representative Monique Davis, a Democrat writes a letter indicating her disagreement. Here are some excepts that were printed in today's column...

"Coretta Scott King's funeral was historically beautiful and a poignant attempt to capture in 6 hours a lifetime fight for civil rights. We the undersigned are outraged at the column of Mary Mitchell in the February 9, 2006 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times. We demand a retraction of the statement that this funeral and that Rosa Parks' funeral was a political spectacle."
...
"Not everyone is attempting to placate the feelings of white people especially when their behavior deserves exposure,"...

You know it's OK to disagree on these things, what's unfortunate is that it becomes a case of using race to attack a person's opinion on an event such as this. If you don't know Mary Mitchell is a black women most of her columns are about the black community, she says she's can't bring herself to vote Republican but what I constantly see in her columns is an independent perspective. She wrote a column about Bobby Rush's refusal to endorse Barack Obama when he
endorsed Blair Hull instead for US Senate. She wanted a black Senator and yet Bobby Rush wanted to nominate or help win the Democratic primary a white man. The column was entitled if I remember correctly, Do black folks know who their people are? Or at least that was the general idea.

So how can Ms. Davis decide that Ms. Mitchell doesn't have black people's interests at heart? How can she decide that Mitchell was "placating" white people? Isn't Mitchell as a columnist entitled to her own opinion on this issue? Perhaps using Mrs. King's funeral was the wrong time to as Ms. Davis puts it to expose a white person's behavior.

So then the column goes into the next subject the heading is, Down side of the donkey. She mentions the two black individuals running for office on the Republican side next year, Michael Steele and Lynn Swann. I've already mentioned those two, one is running for the US Senate and
the other is seeking a governorship in Pennsylvania. Mitchell may not be turning Republican but there seems to be a question of why blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic.

These are some of Mitchell's comments...
He has been ridiculed for his views on education, for getting churches involved in delivering social services, and for suggesting that unwed parents get married.

Squeezed between the misguided Iraqi war and the misdirected response to Hurricane Katrina, Bush's popularity has plummeted with all Americans, let alone African-Americans. Frankly, Bush is easy to dislike. But the fact that black leaders have to wait for icons to die before they can confront him makes them look irrelevant.

Instead of making Bush come to the table, they're yapping at television cameras.

That's the down side of being stuck on the donkey.
Uh oh. I'm really liking this column. For their activities last week black leaders who wait for civil rights idea to die to speak up against the President makes them irrelevant. So maybe this tactic of turning a funeral into a rally really doesn't serve anyone's purposes. Indeed on the right many would compare what happened at Mrs. King's funeral to what happened at the service from Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. Yet there are still those who won't denounce what happened at Mrs. King's funeral...
Rep. Annazette R. Collins (D-Chicago), one of the legislators who signed Davis' letter, acknowledged that she was too busy to read my column about the funeral, but agreed with Davis that it was appropriate for politicians to seize the opportunity to speak out against Bush.

"As a civil rights leader, and as a politician, you would take the opportunity to address every concern from the first day the movement started until the present day. It's the same thing. Our struggle is still here," Collins said.
If this was me I wouldn't take away from the deceased. I'll talk about the issues, especially if they were prominent, that they cared about. Mrs. King is said to be the mother of the Civil Rights movement she was the backbone of a family who's man of those house was fighting a just cause. At the same time to point fingers at an honored guest at a funeral using issues that only the President can resolve isn't exactly the right thing to do.

So Mitchell says that many of us have forgotten black history...

Too many people now believe that the victory can be won by doing evil for evil. And we publicly uphold inappropriate behavior in the political, religious and entertainment arenas, then wonder why our children consider so many people we hold up as leaders to be nothing more than hypocrites.

More important, African-American leaders can't continue to testify against the Bush administration's disrespect of America's civil liberties with one hand and try to strangle every thought that runs contrary to their party line with the other.

Then she finally talks about comments made by the US Senate candidate and Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele oh and by the way check out the March issue of Essence magazine where these comments will appear...
"I've said African-Americans should consider all their choices. It's really about looking more broadly at how a community of people can get the best benefit out of a relationship that has been lopsided," he said.
Mary Mitchell closes out this column with her final parting words for today's column and it make a lot of sense...
As long as the relationship is lopsided, black leaders will be screaming at a locked door.

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