A lot has been made in recent days of the fact that, during Coretta Scott King's funeral, some of the speakers took the opportunity to offer remarks critical of President Bush's policies and politics. In particular, Jimmy Carter and Joseph Lowery have been excoriated for their remarks.
The event has been likened to the funeral of Paul Wellstone, when the right wing media scorched the earth in wrath over the "politicization" of the event. With that in mind, it's worthwhile to hear what Al Franken, who attenede the Wellstone funeral, has to say about that:
It was the Republicans that tried to cheapen Paul Wellstone's life by dishonoring his death. It was the right-wing media, not the friends and family who spoke at the memorial or the people who came to it, that seized an opportunity to use a tragedy for political gain.
Now to the King funeral, which I did not see in its entirety.
Coretta Scott King was 78 when she died. Her death followed a long illness and was not a big shock. Her family and friends had had time to prepare for her death and had not lost five other friends and/or family members in a tragic plane crash.
Four presidents spoke. One of them, Jimmy Carter, made a passing reference to the fact that Martin and Coretta King had been the victims of domestic wiretapping by the government. Was it a shot at President George W. Bush, who was sitting right behind Carter? Probably. Was that inappropriate? Maybe.
Would Coretta Scott King have enjoyed the moment? I don't know. You know who would have a better idea than me? Jimmy Carter. He knew Mrs. King. Those who are currently complaining - most of whom claim to be offended on her behalf - didn't know her at all.
Coretta Scott King was a political woman. Most of those complaining on her behalf are against everything she stood for. In her later years she spoke passionately on behalf of affirmative action. Should her family have been offended that President Bush didn't mention this and apologize for it? Should they have been offended that the first President Bush didn't mention that he had campaigned for Congress in 1964 against the 1964 Civil Rights Bill and didn't apologize for that?
I don't think so. I think they were happy the two Bush Presidents showed up and paid their respects. I think they were also happy that Carter mentioned the wiretaps and that Joseph Lowery mentioned that there had been no WMD's in Iraq. Because that's probably what their mother would have wanted.
You should go read the whole thing.