The "funeral" of Coretta Scott King turned into an ugly, disrespectful political rally.
Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder -- along with Martin Luther King Jr. -- of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, castigated President George W. Bush for insufficient disaster relief, failing to provide health care and failing to cure poverty. "We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there," said Lowery. "But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor."
Listening to speaker after speaker complain about the poor conditions under which minorities live, one wonders whether Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished anything at all.
There stood Oprah Winfrey, the most powerful woman in television, with her net worth estimated by Forbes magazine at $1.3 billion. And she recently signed a $55 million deal with XM Satellite Radio. There stood poet Maya Angelou, who, in one recent year, grossed $3.3 million according to Forbes, and lives in a mansion while employing several people full time. There stood Shirley Franklin, the black female mayor of the city of Atlanta. There stood former presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton, a man who once called Jews "diamond merchants" and denounced a white Harlem storeowner as a "white interloper." A man whom many still take seriously despite falsely accusing a man of rape, and despite the existence of a 1983 FBI surveillance tape showing Sharpton discussing, with an undercover agent, a deal to traffic cocaine. And, of course, Jesse Jackson spoke -- a multimillionaire with two sons who own an Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship, and another son who serves as a U.S. congressman from the Chicago area.
Bernice King, one of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King's daughters, gave the eulogy. Did she really complain about "materialism"? For the King family members -- if the sale at Sotheby's goes through -- may net $30 million for their father's papers. The family also owns copyrights on many of MLK's speeches, including the "I Have a Dream" speech. The Kings sued CBS for airing part of the "I Have a Dream" speech and sued "USA Today" for reprinting the speech's text. CBS ultimately settled the lawsuit by making a donation to the King Center, and "USA Today" had to issue an apology along with their settlement.