Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On the Passing of Coretta Scott King ...

There is much to reflect on concerning the passing of civil rights icon Coretta Scott King, and the thoughts on our end are varied and somewhat troubling:

- There is an odd and dismal sense of irony caught in the Senate's confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito as the Supreme Court's newest addition only hours after the death of Mrs. King. It's as if her death not only signaled the tragedy of her missed presence, but - through Alito's confirmation - it seemed as if it marked the literal, official ending of an era. Alito's record on civil rights does nothing to ease the souls of those who mourn today. So, we simply wait and see just how unreasonably far to the ideological right the Court will go. Media reports characterized the final Senate vote as an "ugly battle" - far from it. If anything, it was partisan window dressing set up for the purpose of galvanizing opposing bases. There is no honor in appeasing political interest groups.

- In the wake of her passing remains the challenge of determining the exact future of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, GA. We hope that the King family will resolve any internal public disputes over the potential sale of the Center to the federal government, which we think is a good idea considering its current state of poor maintenance and disrepair (plus, the federal government already chips in $1 million in annual grants; a 50% percent increase authorized by President Bush). It makes good sense, especially if the deal maintains independent thought and action at the Center. Federal funding (an appropriate investment) simply recognizes Martin Luther King Jr.'s rightful place as a national icon - some could argue a 20th century Founding Father in some respects. This should also lead to the resolution of a pending federal probe into the use of $1.3 million in grant funding, saving the King family from any embarrassment.