Okay, so here's the deal. Coretta Scott King was a great hero of mine. I think her contributions to peace and justice in this country are only just beginning to be seen in full, separate and distinct from her husband's work. He of course is well on the way to being considered a national saint. Everyone admires them now. But this only works as long as people don't pay attention to what both these giants were actually saying. The rigors demanded by their challenge are not slight. War is not an answer. Ever. Discrimination of any kind is not acceptable. Ever. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." So you challenge injustice. All the time, everywhere.
So it pretty much frosts my cookies when people get huffy because speakers at Mrs. King's memorial directly addressed the fact that, hey, you know what, a lot of the problems she spent a lifetime challenging are still huge. And hey, what do you know, some of the people responsible for perpetuating and worsening those attacks on human rights and civil liberties are right here in this room, wearing their best sad faces. Pointing out that, hey, maybe it's a little weird to come to a memorial for someone whose legacy you've devoted your career to destroying, well, apparently that's just bad manners. Wire-tapping, starting a war on false pretenses, authorizing torture, seeking to enshrine discrimination in the constitution, allowing criminal neglect to finish what a hurricane started, apparently that's all fine, sound policy even, but, heavens, bringing up that stuff at a memorial of a life-long pacifist and civil rights leader, well that's just rude.
Spare me this weird WASPy sense of decorum. Celebrate the woman definitely, but recognize her work is far from over, and there are people in power working hard to dismantle her achievements. If they want to celebrate her too, well okay. They just can't be too surprised when people snort derisively.
Rest in Peace Mrs. King. You continue to be an inspiration and beacon of hope.