Jimmy Durante, the late great vaudevillian, once noted “Everybody wants ta get inta the act!”
This Friday’s funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckey, who was one of the people killed in the massacre in Charleston last week, will be a crowded affair. President Obama will deliver the eulogy and Congress is shortening their business week so they can all be there, including the Republican leadership. They’re also piling on to the “take down the flag” movement which, until Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) said she was in favor of, got a lot of “well, I don’t knows” from the GOP. But once the Republican governor of one of the first primary states said it was okay, they all joined in.
Interesting, isn’t it? None of these people bothered to show up to the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, which is just as potent a reminder of the struggle for civil rights as the Confederate flag, but now that they perceive it’s okay to walk away from the white supremacist base of the party, they’ll be there.
Now, of course, we will hear a lot of ahistorical braggadocio about how it was Republicans who freed the slaves, and passed the civil rights acts in the 1960s, Party Of Lincoln and all that. And we will hear about how great we are in general because we have all come together to agree that, in 2015, we decline to further glorify the symbol of a bloody insurrection launched in defense of chattel slavery. We rock. We are so very awesome. I give it a couple of weeks before the conventional wisdom congeals that we have “moved past the controversy” and we can all get back to gutting the Fair Housing Act and undermining voting rights and performing all the rites and rituals that have come to mark the Day of Jubilee.
Jimmy Durante was right; it’s all an act.