Thursday, February 09, 2006


If you're don't habitually read political blogs, you've missed a whole bunch of bullshit this week. Also, you're probably not outraged!

Exercising typical good judgment, some right-wing nuts started the fight by being offended at a couple of veiled, relevant, and substantive swipes taken at President Bush's policies during Coretta Scott King's funeral. Democratic bloggers were quick to get outraged about the outrage, particularly the often-excellent Digby. (Posts here and here.) Example from Digby:
I personally find it absolutely outrageous, OUTRAGEOUS! that Republicans are attacking Coretta Scott King and her family this way. Why, she is an American icon! How dare they! Do they really think that African Americans don't know how to behave at a funeral for one of their own? How very white of them.
What has followed is mudwrestling about 1.) whether liberal activists (and, impliedly, black liberal activists) know how to behave themselves at funerals, or, alternatively, 2.) whether it is appropriate for conservative activists to second-guess what the wife of a civil rights icon would have wanted at her funeral.

A few observations. First, if Kate O'Beirne doesn't make you throw up, you're not worth knowing.* Second, the Republicans still carry the weight of Kevin Phillips's race-baiting southern strategy. Third, the second observation speaks for itself and doesn't need to be underscored by raising questions about who has the right to say what. Fourth, implying that it's not the Republicans' place to comment on the conduct of a major, nationally televised funeral service attacks the mere existence of a debate instead of making substantive points about progressive values.

I don't have many strong beliefs, but if forced to list them, one would be that you can say what you want about whatever you want. That means speaking truth to power at the funeral of an activist, as well as making an ass of yourself when second-guessing the etiquette of those speakers.

The reply to the conservatives' "how-dare-they-upset-the-president" seizures is not reciprocal liberal outrage about the mere act of second-guessing Coretta Scott King's eulogists. The ghouls who take behavioral cues from the sepulchral Kate O'Beirne aren't thinking about a tolerant society in the first place, so getting outraged over her outrage just obscures the debate, and makes me outraged. Because as soon as the fight turns into a tit-for-tat over who has the moral high ground of "how dare they!" we're playing a Bush league version of getting pissed over Danish political cartoons, or whether a Senate committee's inquiry comforts The Enemy.

*I suspect that she smells like mothballs, tomato soup and a dirty bathroom.

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