I was listening to Pat Buchanan, former Presidential contender and regular panelist on the McLaughlin Group, a syndicated weekly news commentary show, this past Saturday evening. Pat, like many conservatives that I listened to during the course of the week, was worked up about comments made at the Coretta Scott Funeral that also took place earlier in the week. Pat was so worked up that he would not even say the name of the wife of the late slain civil right's leader, Coretta Scott King. Instead, Pat leaned forward in his chair, and with a wry jocular expression on his face, referred to the funeral of Mrs King, with emphasis I might add, simply as, "that funeral"! Why was it that poor Pat and so many other conservatives got so worked up by those who exercised their right of free-speech, protected by the Constitution, at 'that funeral'?
First of all, thank God for John McLaughlin who did not allow Pat to enter into what I am sure would have been reckless, innocuous and irreverent dribble. Having listened to Kate O'Beirn, a guest who appeared on Hardball, another news talk show, and about a half-dozen other conservatives on news talk shows during the week, I can pretty much guess what Pat would have said, if he were allowed to continue.
If you watched the televised funeral, you heard several speakers make comments that were not favorable to the cause of the Republican conservatives. Rev. Joseph Lowery noted that there weren't any weapons of mass-destruction found in Iraq. He also pointed out that there was, however, "...mass mis-direction taking place down here". We all took it that his latter comments referred to the Administration's mis-directed policies of the past few years in the good old USA. Jimmy Carter, in his commentary, made reference to the wire taps that were made on Dr. Martin Luther King when he was alive and heading up the civil rights movement. Other speakers, like the Mayor of Atlanta, President and Mrs. Clinton and others made equally innocuous comments. Well, that is as far as the conservatives were concerned. For what really bothered them if you believe them is, how could you say such things at a funeral? And more importantly, how could you say those things with their champion, President George Bush sitting in the pulpit of the church?
Others, from both sides have commented on the wrong or the right of such commentary. So I won't repeat all of that, however, let me get to my point, i.e,. The Hypocrisy of The Right: Advocates of Free Speech.
Another event took place last week that drew as much attention as the Coretta Scott King funeral. A Danish periodical released uncomplimentary caricatures of the late Prophet Muhammad which upset many in the Muslim world. Riots ensued, with many Muslims crying foul and shouting death to the west.
And what was the conservative response to such a desecration of the founder of Islam in comparison to a few comments made in the presence of President Bush, in oppositions to his policies, at 'that funeral', so what? Conservatives in the West defended the right of free speech and the press for the Danes, some admitting that they found the caricatures of Muhammed distasteful. On the other hand, some American citizens found the caricatures to be quite funny and wondered, why were the Muslims making such a big deal out of this? After all, who was Muhammad anyway? These same citizens would make jokes about dropping the bomb on Nagasaki or Hiroshima I suppose.
So let me get this right, creating a caricature disparaging the founder of Islam is okay, but Americans who expressed their heartfelt feelings about the Administration's questionable policies, were abhorrent and despicable.
What does Coretta Scott King's funeral and the Civil Rights Movement have in common with Muslims who were offended by the innocuous mischaracterization and desecration of the founder of Islam? The answer is quite obvious, neither of these groups or their opinions matter in the minds of American Conservatives. These two disparate and oppressed groups of people, in the opinion of too many Americans, do not have the right to feel, respond or protest. Their institutions, their icons and what they value, is simply of limited or no value at all when it comes to the West, and what the West holds to be important. Freedom of thought, freedom of speech and the right to protest, are rights that are reserved solely for Western Conservatives and for those that they give license to. As 20/20's John Stossel often says on his television news show, "give me a break".
Yet Muslims do have something in common with western conservatives? Both groups reserve the right to speak out or react violently whenever they decide that it is appropriate to do so. Muslims riot in the streets, American conservatives stage their coup de tat's daily over the American airwaves, and/or they pre-emptively attack sovereign nations around the world like Iraq, at will.
Conservatives saw Mrs. King's funeral as nothing more than a staged event, a political rally if you will, and some said as much. Conservatives decided that speakers who registered their opinions at, that funeral, had no right to speak out. In their minds, it was as if Ms. King had planned and staged her death so that individuals who disagreed with President Bush and the Administrations policy could have a forum to speak out at, in preparation for the next election. Perhaps Mrs. King will be resurrected in the next few weeks or in time for the next election. I am certain that she will want to know who won; after all some have seen Elvis around since his reported demise.
And what are men and women who participated in the civil rights movement guilty of? They are simply guilty of doing the job that elected officials, from George 1 to George Bush 43 were elected to do, but have failed to do since they took their oaths of office. These officials promised to uphold and defend the American Constitution and the nation. But there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the majority of politicians, from the inception of this nation, utterly failed in their duties. Most have as President Bush recently boasted, when he made no bones about it that he was taking care of his base, simply took care of those in their respective bases.
From George 1 to George Bush today, not much as changed. And the changes that have been made, i.e., to ensure the rights of all American citizens, came about only as a result of the efforts of those who marched, sang, had sit-in's on buses and in restaurants, and were subject to police dogs, police brutality, incarceration and slaughter. Neither branch of government, nor rarely did any official advocate for the rights of oppressed Americans during the years of slavery, or the continued racism that continued after the Emancipation Proclamation, well i.e, without being embarrassed into doing so. And where were the church leaders, lets save that discussion for another day? It still amazes me when I recall that throughout American history not one branch of the government, Executive, Judicial or Legislative stood up for the Constitution and fought for the rights of oppressed and disenfranchised minority citizens in the USA.
George Bush's policies today are only a reflection of the narrow-mindedness of people who voted for him. And that reflection is further exemplified when you think about all of the Presidents from George 1 to our present day George and other Congressional Representatives and Justices who have held offices or a seat on the highest courts in the land, and State, County and Local officials. Because of the work of the Civil Rights workers, who many Americans deride, injustices in Housing, Education, Employment, Transportation et al. were exposed to the world, and some have been ameliorated as a result of the efforts of these workers. But none of the progress that has been made had anything to do with a proactive United States Executive, Judicial or Legislative branch, or very many State, County and Local officials. And again, lets not even bring up the Church. Did you know that even the Rev. Billy Graham refused to stand with Dr. King at the podium, during the March on Washington, and tell the world that racism was wrong! Rev. Graham's behavior was representative of too many in the church world then and now. All of these church leaders remind me of the disciples who abandoned Jesus to the cross.
Even though of late it has become fashionable to show up at the funerals and memorials of those icons who stepped in and did the jobs of elected and appointed officials, we all know who really went out and did the work that was done in this country. More than Reparations, (a discussion that has been going on in this country for years regarding the descendants of slaves and disenfranchised blacks), the estates of officials from George Washington down to George Bush today, should turn over their paychecks, and in some cases inheritances (Mt. Vernon) should be given over to the legacy of the disenfranchised slaves and/or the leaders of the Civil Rights groups in this country - the people who worked for it. For it was the Civil Rights Leaders, whom conservatives hate and disparage, who did their jobs for them. I wonder, how come you never hear Conservatives like Kate O'Beirn or Fat Pat saying anything about the failings of the former? I suppose that reality, simply does not matter. When will America pay homage to, and rectify all of the damage that they did to blacks in this country, and to all of these Civil Rights heroes who stood up more for the principles that this country stands for than the elected officials did, including George 1? When will they be enshrined into the American History Hall of Fame? When will the names and portratits of the salacious and desultory pretenders be removed from our museums and history, and be exposed for who they were and really are, scoundrels?
In closing, I trust that as an American citizen, I have the same rights extended to the Danes, i.e., to express my opinion without censorship, whether I express my feelings here in this blog, the Press or at a funeral. Have any of you ever been to Mt. Vernon, Virginia? Did you know that nearly 400 slaves served at Mt. Vernon and provided a lavish lifestyle for our infamous first President and his family? About 90 of those slaves are buried on the property. What was your reaction to this so-called American hero that is buried there, i.e., our First President? In my mind, he is no hero, the word 'pimp', immediately came to mind. What also came to my mind when I visited Mt. Vernon Virginia, a few years ago, was that George Washington and many of my country 'tis of thee's most important historical figures' were scurrilous sludge. How they ever got elected to anything I will never know. For they were men who pimped other human beings, instead of working themselves, in order to provide for themselves and their families.
These were the types of people that Americans selected and elected to govern this land (similar to what they do today), i.e., pimps, whoremongers, invaders, kidnappers, rapists, child molesters, thieves, murderers, white supremacists, klansmen, Night Patrollers, hegemonists, maimers and lynchers, not to mention truce-breakers. The spirit and the attitudes of these men and women live on, and are reflected today in their posterity. And like President Bush today, these were individuals who also did not want to pay their taxes. But since they came out of the population that was much like them, the electorate did not see a problem with electing them to lead the country them; what a sad irony. That probably explains why we cannot get rid of the graft and corruption in today's politics, government, corporations, markets, churches et al.
I thought of visiting Monticello, further south, after my visit to Mt. Vernon, then I thought further about it and concluded, why visit the home of another sleazy scumball who white Americans adored and adore? A visit to the home of one pimp-daddy President was enough for me? If Conservatives feel that the comments at, 'that funeral were bad', they should read my bumper sticker on my car. It reads like this, "Stop Bush The Barbarian, Killer and The Thief of Baghdad". What he heard at that funeral was light stuff.
Now, God bless the memory of the late Dr. Martin King and Mrs. King, and all of the Civil Rights workers and other citizens who have lived, suffered and died as they did the job of all of the Founders and failed politicians (who never did their's) in trying to secure the rights and freedoms of all citizens of the United States of America (and the world), for these are the Americans who tried to obtain the American ideals for all peoples and they should be celebrated. President Jimmy Carter was right in saying that Dr. King was a far better man than George Washington and all of the rest who ever served this country.
God bless all of those who took up the fight in lieu of all of those who took oaths upon entering office, promising to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. And may God help all of those who are offended when a portion of the population reminds their fellow-citizens of the promises made to all citizens of this country that still have not been fully realized in a country of, by and for the people. I will see you at the next funeral!