Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Four Presidents and a Funeral

I got caught off-guard yesterday as I was going home from school, and ended up in the presidential motorcade. OK, not really. I ended up in the rolling stop where the presidential motorcade was travelling. It’s a misnomer, because there was no rolling anywhere. It was a full stop.

I realized my mistake as soon as I merged onto the interstate, and entered the parking lot formerly known as I-20. I immediately turned on the AM news station, hoping to get a traffic report. Instead, I heard Bill Clinton’s hypocritical audacity quoting from Isaiah and pretending to know what he was talking about. I know, not supposed to be judging others. Not to be outdone, Hillary blubbered on about things for a while, too. Boy, did they get applause. Disgusting. Meanwhile, I heard that Bush was dozing. And they didn’t even stay for the whole funeral. Can you believe they stopped it to let those guys off the stage? Amazing.

There was some more bla-bla-bla from people, some sincere, some obviously grandstanding and some who were clearly real friends of the family. I love that after all the dignitaries, one of Mrs. King’s real friends got up to say she was proud to be listed in the program with the title of Friend of the Family, and as far as she was concerned, that was the only thing on that page that mattered. It was brilliant! HA!

By then, the presidential motorcade was upon me, and it was pretty impressive. Lots of lights and police cars, plus 3 or 4 ambulances (40 years later getting proactive?). I imagine everyone was travelling in the line of about 10 black Excursions, a bunch of white SUVs/Passenger vans, and a cool looking fortified truck/van/boxy thing that must be a communications vehicle. Impressive, did I already say that?

Anyway, I know four presidents zoomed by me while I watched the engine temperature slowly inching it’s way up the dial. I supposed I can capture the moment and one day talk about seeing a motorcade with unidentified passengers heading towards the airport. If only I had listened to Vicky and we had crashed the viewing.

I wasn’t too terribly put out by sitting in traffic for almost two hours. I was caught up in the drama of the funeral, and I must not let my cynicism surrounding the funeral mar the work and sentiments of the Kings. Nevertheless, the grandstanding and posing was obnoxious and offensive. However, none of that politicking came close to what Stevie Wonder did.

He was scheduled to sing a beautiful song, one that is personally meaningful to John and me, "His Eye is on the Sparrow." He performed it, but I can’t bring myself to say that he sang it. He butchered it by singing scales all up and down the song. What is it these days? A contest to see who can demonstrate their full range with one song? More thunderous applause, of course. It was a disappointment, and more annoying than the traffic jam.

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