President Junior "Honors" Martin Luther King–And Raises Some Money


Junior, on his way to yet another fundraiser, this time in Atlanta, decided to invite himself to MLK’s 75th birthday party, an event that has been planned for months and in which he showed no prior interest whatsoever until yesterday. According to the AJC’s Charles Yoo, the organizers–and King’s family–ain’t all that thrilled.

President Bush’s visit on Thursday to observe what would have been the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 75th birthday isn’t sitting well with area tribute organizers.They say Bush invited himself to their party and will potentially force the cancellation of some events due to security concerns. What’s more, they say, Bush will profit from a fund-raiser he will piggyback with his visit to Atlanta.

About 3:45 p.m., the president will lay a wreath at the late civil rights leader’s crypt at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. The president announced his visit on Friday.

But the MLK March Committee, a group of area civil rights activists who worked with King, say they have worked for months on a program to honor the civil rights leader at Ebenezer Baptist Church, across the street.

“They told us that the Secret Service wanted us out of there by 2 p.m.,” said the Rev. James Orange. “We are not leaving the church.” The Ebenezer program from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. focuses on human rights. (emphasis added)

That’s the part I love–not only did he invite himself, busting in on an event that means no more to him than another photo-op, he’s throwing out the group that is sponsoring the event and cutting short a program on human rights–a field which, he has boasted, he has done more for than any other President in history. (Modesty does not appear to be one of his virtues, which some of us are still trying to figure out what they are.) The response to his gate-crashing was predictable but surprisingly civil considering:

State Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) said Bush’s planners should have given the visit more thought.”He has the right to come, but there should have been some consideration on what’s going on locally,” said Brooks. “That’s quite insulting. This is not the appropriate way to honor Dr. King.”

No, but Tyrone should know that Junior’s sudden interest in wreath-laying has nothing whatever to do with honoring anybody or anything, not King or the civil rights movement or even black votes in an election year. It’s about giving him cover for when the Publicans are once again accused of racist policies and coddling racists. “But,” they will say, “he laid a wreath on King’s tomb. That proves he’s not a racist.” Meanwhile his party will go right on appealing to white separatists with the standard coded messages and anti-diversity policies.

You know, this gambit is getting so repetitious that it’s boring. Are they still kidding anyone with these insincere games? Is there anyone left who still believes these last-minute, intrusive and insulting photo-ops are in any way genuine?

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