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 March, 2006


 The President's welcome at the funeral of Coretta Scott King

Bush Got Slapped! Coretta Would Have Been Happy!

By Al Owens
When President Bush gets an oratorical pie thrown at him, it’s time for Republicans everywhere to try to deflect the thing! Too bad, they should have known it was coming. And too bad, he had it coming in the first place.

Corretta Scott King’s funeral has set off a flurry of hand wringing that has, once again, shown that this nation still has two very distinct points of view about race, poverty, war and civil rights, as if this were still the 1960’s. Maybe that’s because we’ve settled easier behind our varying convictions and have mainly ignored the fact that they still exist.

That funeral may be clear proof of it. So when Rev. Joseph Lowery pierced the universal good will with his sobering rhetoric Bush supporters should have taken note rather taken umbrage. They certainly must have known our president had entered a land populated by hardly anybody who honors the life of Coretta Scott King, who simultaneously buys into his logic.

She didn’t and they don’t. "We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor," Lowery offered in his eulogy. These words could have easily been uttered by Mrs. King’s late husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. whose legacy has been so bent that it no longer contains his strong, and at the time troubling, anti-war stand. What Lowry confronted the president with was remarkably similar to Rev. King’s words in November of 1967. “It is disgraceful that a Congress that can vote upwards of $35 billion a year for a senseless immoral war in Vietnam cannot vote a weak $2 billion dollars to carry on our all too feeble efforts to bind up the wound of our nations 35 million poor.” So King himself would, along with Mrs. King, been pleased that somebody would have made light of much of their life’s work.

They would have been more perplexed by the hand wringers than by the words honoring them. Non-violence means wars too. George Bush should know that. Coretta and Martin did.

And it’s not like neither of them have ever confronted a president themselves. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy has been blurred by one phrase - I Have a Dream. When hardly anybody seems to remember that that phrase was contained in a speech that was a direct rebuke of a president, President Kennedy, because he’d supposedly used the black vote to get elected, but showed little support for a much needed Civil Rights bill.

The march that produced those cherished words was seen as a frontal assault on a president’s unwillingness to do what was right. And before Kennedy could act on the will of those marchers, Kennedy was assassinated and King and his wife were the subjects of government wiretaps.

"It was difficult for them personally with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated, and they became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance," former President Jimmy Carter told Coretta Scott King’s mourners. One of whom was a current president with government wiretaps on his mind these days!

Carter, whose name seems to come up whenever that subject gets spun by administration apologists, was merely clearing the air and his good name. But those apologists don’t see the beauty of that statement. They probably never will.

All of this was at a funeral. Of course Bush supporters think it wasn’t the appropriate time to discuss matters of national interest while paying homage to such a great lady. Those same supporters could never understand that the woman being honored would have said the very same things herself, if she’d been given the chance while she was alive. Perhaps the president should open his oval office to people who share her philosophy, rather than to repeatedly court those people who just share his.

He’d soon understand why Presidents Clinton and Carter, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Sr. and just about everybody else who spoke at that funeral was more warmly received than he was. But he probably never will.