Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Two funerals and a media

Yesterday, Jerry Falwell collapsed and died, apparently of a heart attack, at age 73. Hours later, Yolanda King, eldest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. also collapsed and died, apparently of a heart attack, shortly after giving a speech. She was only 51.

What do these deaths have in common? Other than heart failure, as little as the words, beliefs and lives of the two people themselves. That they died within hours of each other is odd... but life loves an irony.

And now we will be treated to a real show, as the media grapples with coverage of the passing of these two very different people, and of course the opposing ideologies and agendas they represent.

My guess is that there will be endless coverage of the death of Falwell, who at 73 came to represent many things to many people (I will leave it at that.) I doubt we will hear much about Yolanda King. Peace, love and tolerance are out of style in today's media.

Yesterday I received two 'CNN Breaking News' emails concerning the death of Jerry Falwell. I received no notice at all of the passing of Yolanda King - from CNN or anyone else - but I did find coverage at the top of the CNN front page this morning. Somehow, news of her death made front page on the CNN web site. I doubt her friends and family will have their own memorial episode of "Larry King," but you never know.

For those who don't know much about Yolanda King, the eldest of Martin's four children, you can read about her in this rather brief CNN story.

A few things in the story will stand out:

Yolanda King founded and led Higher Ground Productions, billed as a "gateway for inner peace, unity and global transformation." On her company's Web site, she described her mission as encouraging personal growth and positive social change.

She was a visible participant in celebrations of the past Martin Luther King Day, the first since the death of her mother, Coretta Scott King:

At her father's Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, she performed a series of solo skits that told stories including a girl's first ride on a desegregated bus and a college student's recollection of the 1963 campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Ala.

She also urged the audience to be a force for peace and love, and to use the King holiday each year to ask tough questions about their own beliefs about prejudice.

"We must keep reaching across the table and, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, feed each other," she said.

"We must keep reaching across the table and, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, feed each other."

Rest in peace, Yolanda King. Someday, if we... or our children's children... are lucky enough, brave enough, and enlightened enough, the intolerance will finally end.

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