I have always loved a good car trip. When I was a kid I think may parents drove my sister and I to or through at least 30 of the lower 48, and it could have possibly been more. Back then I wasn't as thrilled with car trips as I am today, but still, there was a certain adventure to hopping in the car and driving to a new destination. Clearly some of those drives were pretty boring - I hadn't yet learned that the fun is the journey not the destination - but still the I have to admit that the destination always held some cool surprises. I saw the Bonne Terre Mines in Missouri, the hot springs in Billy BOHICA's home state. I drove through the General Sherman tree, marveled at the bad lands, and yes made the obligatory stop at Wall Drug. These trips instilled in me a love for the road that simply can't be sated by a plane trip.
While the reason for my road trip yesterday was sad, I must admit it was good to be on the road again. Since I spent most of my time driving after dark I was also able to indulge one of my other favorite pastimes; scanning the AM radio waves for local stations both near and far. Oh, it was great. I heard St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Boston and I think Baltimore as well as one or two central Illinois stations.
To be completely candid scanning the airwaves isn't quite as great as it was when I was a kid. Today so many of the small local stations are part of a larger corporate network it is hard to get as much local "flavor" as once was possible. Still, there was enough to satisfy as I heard about a local school controversy in St. Louis, reports on the big Super Bowl parade in "The Burgh" and other little tid bits of the Americana that makes AM radio so cool.
The drive was great; it gave me time to think about my day, my uncle and the beautiful funeral service that was held in his honor. A lot of thoughts can go through your head as you drive through the Illinois night in mid February, but the one that kept popping back in my head every hour on the hour was, "what in the world is wrong with modern liberalism"
Really, I just couldn't believe my ears. You see, most of these rural stations had CNN Radio news on at the top of the hour and of course the big news of the day was that other funeral, Mrs. King's. I must say, as I heard the reports from the funeral, complete with playbacks of President Bush's speech, as well as Reverend Lowery's and Jimmy Carter's I just couldn't believe my ears.
As is typical of Mr. Bush and his writers he once again displayed their combined ability to rise to the occasion. It really is an amazing trait of W's; when he wants to put the effort behind standing and delivering the goods, few are better. I doubt that many would disagree that he did exactly that at the service yesterday.
I won't waste time here repeating what Lowery and Carter said, except to say that anyone who chooses to turn a funeral service into an opportunity to attack one of their fellow mourners is a complete ass. Of course we knew this about Mr. Carter already. Mr. Lowery was a bit of a surprise.
So I wondered, what has happened to American Liberalism that causes it to repeatedly be expressed in so many inappropriate ways. There was the Wellstone funeral, of course, but there has also been so many other instance of inappropriate behavior or the association with so many bad actors that one really does have to begin to wonder. If you need some examples just visit any public declaration by Howard Dean, or review Teddy Kennedy's questioning of Justice Alito.
As I considered this question though I realized that liberalism has been in this state for at least 30 years. I joke that Jimmy Carter turned me into a conservative, but to give him credit for this would really be lending too much authority to the highest performing offspring of a pretty wretched gene pool. No, I left liberalism because it was a hollow, pointless ideology that had pretty much run it's course by the mid-seventies. I mention this because liberals in particular have been using racial politics in lieu of any real ideology for a long-time, and their treatment of the King's in particular is quite instructive.
We all know today, that despite their insistence that they were big supporters of the King's, the Kennedy boys were quite the opposite behind closed doors. Bobby had MLK's phones tapped, and he and Jack tried to discredit King by suggesting that MLK had ties with communists. Bobby was famously heard to say at one point that if the country knew what they knew about King, King would be finished. Doesn't sound like much of a fan to me.
Then, of course, there was LBJ. We all know that LBJ passed the Civil Rights act, but what we all forget is that he did it with broad Republican support. In fact, a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the act than did Democrats. Still LBJ was a big fan of King, right? Well, maybe, but he couldn't be bothered to attend the funeral and instead sent his Vice President.
So President Bush's appearance at Mrs. King's funeral was all the more important yesterday. Certainly Mrs. King was worthy in her own right of Presidential honor, that it also helped make up for the slight of her husband at the time of his death made it all the more important.
Perhaps we'll never know what really set liberals off, but we do know that for at least some of them, honoring the King's was never really as important as using them to promote an unrelated, hollow cause.