Wellstoneing Another Funeral
Memorial services are odd occasions. They are times of raw emotion and pain. They are times when normally reserved people express their feelings openly and laud the life of a person whom they will miss. And they are times when it is generally socially inappropriate to criticize the remarks of a mourner which might be interpreted as intemperate, leaving the target of such unfair allegations often unfairly defenseless. It is not appropriately the time for a debate.
But when the remarks are so irrelevant to the occasion, and are not generated as a result of an emotional overflow, but rather a calculated effort to be petty, to the extent that the event becomes a free platform for unleashing abusive statements, the tide often turn against the opportunist.
Jimmy Carter took the opportunity yesterday, while pretending to laud Coretta Scott King the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., to get in rhetorical jabs on the sitting president who was just a few feet behind him regarding wiretaps and Hurricane Katrina. It was a new low for the failed President. And then, Rev. Joseph Lowery did much the same, bringing in the whole WMD in Iraq issue. It was an inexcusable misuse of the pulpit and a terrible example to his congregation.
We saw this same kind of thing in October 2002, when the funeral of Paul Wellstone became an opportunity for a number of crazed leftists to turn it into an SDS rally, booing Republicans who came to pay their respects, demanding that Republican candidates for Senate resign their candidacies as a tribute to Wellstone, bashing the President and putting forth a rally for Wellstone's replacement. The moderate governor of Minnesota, Jessie Ventura walked out. Others joined him. And the remarkable tastelessness of the event backfired on them and may have turned several close races in favor of the Republicans.
And while we are in a slightly different situation here, it becomes very hard to escape the conclusion that the left lacks any sense of moral or social grace or decency or any restraint of any kind. To these people, the rising of the sun is politics.
Contrast this with the passing of President Ronald Reagan. It was an event marked by laudatory remarks about the man's life, his work and the legacy he left. Nobody took the opportunity to say that Reagan had to come in and revamp a military which Jimmy Carter allowed to be gutted. Nobody mentioned the embarrassment of the Iran hostage crisis where Jimmy Carter did exactly nothing to rescue the hostages (a poorly planned Delta Force rescue that never even got there doesn't count), that he displayed flaccidity in the face of the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan by boycotting their Olympics, thereby guaranteeing a huge sweep of gold medals and denying American athletes their chance to prove their worth, or kissing Brezhnev and telling us just before the Afghanistan invasion that we have nothing to fear from the Soviets. Nobody mentioned the Carter gas lines. Nobody mentioned the misery index, the sum of the high interest rate and unemployment rate of the Carter years. Nobody talked about how dangerous a period the world entered from January 1977 to January 1981. Nobody demagogued the failures of those years. And they didn't mention the years of failure after that: The North Korean agreement that he brokered in 1994, and may have broken U.S. law to do, which led to the crisis we have now. The endorsement of the theft of the election in Venezuela by the pro-Castro, anti U.S. Communist, Hugo Chavez. And nobody used his good points, few though they were, as platforms to describe their unintended consequences. It was never mentioned that the Camp David Peace Accords between Israel and Egypt were the thing that got Egyptian President Anwar Sadat killed. And nobody was tasteless enough to suggest that President Carter's work with Habitat for Humanity, probably the greatest thing he has ever done, did little to elevate the economic condition of the people whose homes he built (an inexcusable and patently false allegation to be certain, but it's qualities are not too different from what we regularly hear from the far left [lies about Iraq, blood for oil, anything about Halliburton]). Instead, the focus was on the man who had passed, his family, and his accomplishments.
But people on the left like Jimmy Carter, Rev. Lowery, and the folks who befouled the service for Paul Wellstone lack any sense of decorum or politeness, and are simply unable to coexist with others in a non-political environment. And it's a shame that they cannot exercise enough self control to forego cheap political stunts at funerals, for the sake of peace and remembering the life's work of one who has passed.
Disgraceful and shameful, but such admonitions are completely lost on those who should be ashamed.