the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

February 8, 2006



I’ve been to two kinds of funerals. Some were for those who brought us stability.

Such a funeral is a stately progression of somber faces, each person contemplative of the world the survivors have found themselves in. Sometimes this contemplation is personal, sometimes it is political, but it is always private. It is a hallowed, neutral ground, on which a gathering convenes in the spirit of “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” It is a time for understanding and embracing continuity and balance, of considering the moments spent with the deceased, and the memories of them we carry forward. It is a celebration of tradition, of family, and of the culture in which we live. A quiet celebration, but one dedicated to continuity, and the hope that when our time comes, the voices that speak of us in remembrance are kind. It is fundamentally political; it is a monument to the status quo.

Then there are the funerals for those whose lives brought us change.

This is also a celebration of continuity, but on a much more personal scale. It is an expression of grief, but also of hope. Hope that the strength and power of the fallen may be borne with honor by the living. It is a time of reckoning; a time we ask what works have been accomplished, and what remains to be done. A time where we ask ourselves “what should we do,” and realize that she will not be there to help us answer; we must now confront this question for ourselves. A time where we look back to the life of the one who has passed for our answers. Even as we mourn the stillness that once was her living voice, we raise our own, and find our own strength in the expression of the passion that she raised in us. It is a funeral not to honor the continuity in which she lived, but the vision of hope that she moved us towards, despite tragedy and horrible loss. It is where we renew our faith in what the departed taught us. It is fundamentally personal; it is a monument to the human being.

Think about Coretta Scott King; think about her acts, her beliefs, and her legacy. Put aside all else, save her.

Now tell me, which monument did she deserve?


  1. The incorporation of Reagan’s death into the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign was annoying, especially given the Republican whining about the Wellstone funeral, but it was nothing compared with the four years and counting we’ve had of Republicans using the deaths of three thousand people as a constant campaign prop.

    “Politicizing” the deaths of people who devoted their lives to politics is one thing. Politicizing the deaths of thousands to support a party that most of them didn’t belong to and in many cases no doubt strongly opposed is the real outrage, but somehow we never hear a peep about that from the talking heads.

    Keith11:00 am

  2. O.O!

    Incredibly well put!!!!!!

    StealthBadger11:44 am

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