A great woman, Dorothy Height, was laid to rest yesterday at the Washington National Cathedral and Big Guy and Lady M paid their respects. You can tell that they both respected Dr. Height greatly because Big Guy shed a real tear, and Lady M dressed as close to age and position appropriate as we could pull together out of the imperial closet.
I don’t think MO approved of the unmanly display of emotion though. There’s that stare again, that she usually reserves for more attractive women from foreign countries.
Big Guy was called upon to deliver a eulogy for this great woman, nearly 100 years old, and a stalwart in the civil rights movement. In honoring her Big Guy reminded everyone how evil America was when Dorothy was growing up:
Jim Crow ruled the South. The Klan was on the rise -- a powerful political force. Lynching was all too often the penalty for the offense of black skin. Slaves had been freed within living memory, but too often, their children, their grandchildren remained captive, because they were denied justice and denied equality, denied opportunity, denied a chance to pursue their dreams.
And then, miraculously, as only the Won can do, he found a way to make her passing about him:
The progress that followed -- progress that so many of you helped to achieve, progress that ultimately made it possible for Michelle and me to be here as President and First Lady --
Odd, given that even Big Guy seems to recognize that it really shouldn’t be all about you:
…year after year, decade in, decade out, Dr. Height went about her work quietly, without fanfare, without self-promotion. She never cared about who got the credit. She didn't need to see her picture in the papers. She understood that the movement gathered strength from the bottom up, those unheralded men and women who don't always make it into the history books but who steadily insisted on their dignity, on their manhood and womanhood…and that willingness to subsume herself, that humility and that grace, is why we honor Dr. Dorothy Height.
and then later, speaking of Dr. Martin Luther King, he relayed Dr. King’s admonition that everyone has "the drum major instinct,"
… the desire to be first, we all want to be at the front of the line.
The great test of a life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, is to harness that instinct; to redirect it towards advancing the greater good; toward changing a community and a country for the better; toward doing the Lord's work. .
Have you noticed how being in church, especially at funerals, has a way of making people stop temporarily and take stock of themselves? No wonder Big Guy was crying.