Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sour old men paint over King’s tribute with rancor
Tribute to Mrs. King

LITHONIA, Ga. - Four American presidents yesterday joined hands and bowed their heads in prayer for civil rights leader Coretta Scott King, but the joyful celebration of her life turned harsh, with one former president and a prominent black preacher bitterly criticizing President Bush for his surveillance of terror suspect.

Nearly 40 speakers took the pulpit during the six-hour remembrance service at a church in this suburb just outside Atlanta.

Ten thousand people heard Mr. Bush say he had come "to offer the sympathy of our entire nation at the passing of a woman who worked to make our nation whole."

"We knew Mrs. King in all the seasons of her life and there was grace and beauty in every season. As a great movement of history took shape, her dignity was a daily rebuke to the pettiness and cruelty of segregation," Mr. Bush said.

He also said that "our sister Coretta" and her husband, Martin Luther King, put their faith in God as they led the civil rights movement that changed America in the 1960s.

"The God of Moses was not neutral about their captivity. The God of Isaiah and the prophets was still impatient with injustice. And they knew that the Son of God would never leave them or forsake them," Mr. Bush said.

Halfway through the service, former President Jimmy Carter scolded Mr. Bush for his terror-surveillance program, which intercepts communications between terror suspects abroad and suspects in the United States….

"It was difficult for them then, personally, with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretaps and other surveillance ," Mr. Carter said as Mr. Bush smiled politely.
[Ed. - Surprisingly, Carter doesn't mention that it was Attorney General Robert Kennedy, a Democrat in a Democratic adminstration, who ordered the wiretapes on Martin Luther King]

Mr. Carter later said Hurricane Katrina was a clear sign that racism is still alive in America. Several black leaders have blamed the president for what they consider an insufficient federal response.

"This commemorative ceremony this morning, this afternoon, is not only to acknowledge the great contributions of Coretta and Martin, but to remind us that the struggle for equal rights is not over," Mr. Carter said. "We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi."

The crowd applauded lustily.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and an outspoken civil rights leader, during his speech about Mrs. King ripped into Mr. Bush.

"She extended Martin's message against poverty, racism and war. She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar. We know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction over there," Mr. Lowery said.

The crowd, mostly black but with many white faces, applauded, then stood in ovation.


"But Coretta knew, and we know," Mr. Lowery continued, "that there are weapons of misdirection right down here," he said, referring to the row of presidents past and present on the stage.


"Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor," he yelled as the crowd again cheered...

Carter and Lowery are 82 and 85 respectively and it shows. Having had occasion lately to spend time around elderly men, it is fortunate that those two old cranks didn’t pee their pants as they spewed their venom. Had they done so, pity the follow-on speakers having to stand and speak while avoiding the puddles.

I lived in Atlanta hence Fulton County for 11 years, leaving in 2003. That county’s black/white racial mix is roughly even (45%/48%). And there is a small yet politically powerful black subgroup in that county whose livelihoods depend on sustaining the blacks-are-victims-of-the-white-man meme. So, if you’re wondering why Carter and Lowery got ovations for their insufferable remarks, know that that church was packed with the “we are victims” cadre, and the two racism mongers knew their crowd.

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