Friday, January 16, 2004

No pleasing some people

President Bush yesterday paid a call on Martin Luther King's grave and, with King's widow at his side, laid a wreath there in remembrance. This didn't sit well with a crowd of protesters who shouted and jeered at the President and basically made it clear that they were offended that he had come. Of course, those same people would have been offended if he'd made no such visit because he was failing to show proper respect to Mr. King's memory.

A real lose-lose situation if ever there was one. The President handled it exactly as he should have. He stepped up, laid the wreath, sat in quiet contemplation (or as quiet as the shouting crowd would let it be), shook hands with Mrs. King and left. Sorry, folks, this time the class was all on the President's side.

You don't have to do things exactly as someone else would have done to respect that person. You don't need to follow in their footsteps precisely to value that which that person valued. Every man walks his own road, as it were, and as close as some of those roads parallel each other, they are still separate. What works for the one will not necessarily be the answer for another. Such is life. The protesters claimed that all Bush was trying to do was grab some of the black vote. Please. No one who thought about the issue for longer than 5 seconds would think that this President had a chance in hell of doing that. Given the exteme likelihood that either action - showing up or staying away - would offend the black community one way or the other, his chances of garnering some kind of political support for this was exactly zero. And still he went anyway. I think he did so for the obvious reason: he respects what Mr. King had to say and wanted to salute his actions and leadership. I view the actions of the crowd of protesters as the offensive, non-King variety. But there's no pleasing some people, and this too is a fact of life.