Daily Archives: January 15, 2004

Bush’s MLK Photo-Op: Update

A compromise appears to have been reached in the matter of the wreath. Fearing the potential of some bad PR, Karl Rove has decided NOT to throw people out of the Ebenezer Baptist Church so Junior can have his picture taken putting a wreath on King’s tomb, which is next door, on his way to yet another fundraiser. According to today’s AJC, the services and programs that had been planned for months to honor King’s 75th birthday will be allowed to continue.

[D]iplomacy has prevailed. On Wednesday members of the Atlanta Police Department, the National Park Service, which oversees operation of some Atlanta King memorials, and the Secret Service showed up at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference headquarters on Auburn Avenue to meet with the MLK March Committee.Four Secret Service agents explained they had no intention of disrupting the festival. “We don’t want to infringe on your program,” said an agent, adding the church “is not going to be shut down.”

Both sides of the argument gave a little. Bush will visit. The committee’s tribute will go on. The twist is that no one can enter the church after 2 p.m. Guests may, however, leave the church. Some organizers were a little frustrated that attendees couldn’t come and go, but said being able to continue the program during the president’s visit was some consolation.

“That’s a compromise,” said Helen Butler, the main tribute organizer. “We really don’t want to prohibit people from participating. I think Dr. King was available to all people, so our event should be the same.”

A worthy sentiment Bush rarely–if ever–shares. Junior generally likes his photo-ops in front of friendly, hand-picked crowds with the hoi-polloi kept at a safe distance.

For the record, it should be noted that the character of Bush’s crass, manipulative hit-and-run hasn’t fooled everyone:

“Tomorrow, the biggest hypocrisy will be perpetuated here in Atlanta,” said the Rev. Tim McDonald, president of the group and pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church.

You go, Rev.