Friday, July 31, 2020

Three War Criminals, All in a Row

It's been entertaining to watch the various vultures squabbling over the remains of the late John Lewis. At the memorial service, Bill Clinton praised Lewis for being moderate in not Going Too Far as Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture) did.  This set off predictable fury in the left Twittersphere, but really, did anyone really believe the overall spectacle was going to be anything but embarrassing?  Clinton doesn't know or doesn't care (you decide) that Lewis was pretty extreme; his address at the 1963 March on Washington had to be pared back by Movement censors / PR people to avoid troublesome excess.  And of course, Martin Luther King was always Going Too Far for the comfort of white moderates, and Rosa Parks continued Going Too Far for the rest of her long life.

Then the Right threw tantrums over Barack Obama's eulogy of Lewis, which they claimed "politicized" the sacred event.  Leftists and liberals derided them, pointing out that politicians' funerals are always political, except when Bill Clinton is there. The fun part is that when Clinton and Obama croak, right-wingers will forget everything they said about keeping the memorials apolitical, and liberals will be furious that the Rethugs are dragging politics into it. I hope I live to see it. 

But Obama ... I heard a couple of clips from his performance, and I don't know if I have the strength to watch the whole forty-minute thing, so this will have to do for now.  The first one included a denunciation of the use of tear gas and clubs against peaceful demonstrators, which Obama was perfectly comfortable with while he was President.  (The crackdowns on Occupy Wall Street looked very much like the ones we've seen the past several weeks.)  In the second clip I heard, he did a very poor impersonation of a fiery black preacher, evidently under the impression that such low comedy was appropriate for the occasion - and I guess it was, because liberals have been wetting their pants over his inspiring and articulate oratory.  Some of what he said was unexceptionable, such as restoring protection of voting rights; but his support won't help it happen, and I would hope that no one needs his advice to see it as important.