D.C. Today: Best Seat in the House

The place to be today to pay tribute to the best in human nature: the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C.

There, a group of people is gathered in a large circle of love and respect in honor of the life of Rosa Parks. They're laughing, they're crying, they're teasing each other. Someone mentioned President Clinton and they broke out into whoop-whoops. They're having a wonderful time celebrating a wonderful legacy. They are saving her a seat in history, and recognizing how hard-won that seat was.

The place to be today to pay tribute to the worst in human nature: the White House.

There, a group of arrogant, damaged white males are giving the finger to Rosa Parks and paying tribute to lucre, power, and xenophobia. With a swift slap across our collective face, Bush has stolen the seat hard-won by Sandra Day O'Connor and handed it to yet another conservative white male, intent on preserving the power cabal his family has enjoyed for centuries.

What a waste of a seat. What a step backwards. What a shameful act.

What a long, awful administration.

Thank God that good people are rising up to reclaim this country. If I were in D.C. today, I know whose party I'd be attending.

"I would not be standing here today, nor standing where I stand every day, had she not chosen to sit down. I know that. I know that.

Sister Rosa, I thank you for not moving. I owe you."

-- Oprah Winfrey

Catch the replay of Rosa Parks' Memorial Service on C-Span, and don't miss Oprah, Rep. Julia Carson of Indiana and Cicely Tyson.

Also, at 6:13pm, catch Joseph Wilson discussing the CIA/Valerie Plame leak at the National Press Club. It's a very patriotic talk.

UPDATE: It's almost too beautiful to comprehend. Two white men got lost on the way to their party, and ended up across town. The result? Donald Rumsfeld and Bill Frist had to hold hands with black people and sing "We Shall Overcome."

The moral arc of the universe bends towards justice, indeed. I do believe.

To clarify, Frist held hands. Rumsfeld used his wife to opt out, draping his arm on her like she was a coat rack.

I must credit Frist, also, for bringing the following story to my attention, in a speech he gave on the Senate floor in 2004:

The following is an account by the historian Douglas Brinkley. It is 1990, and Nelson Mandela is arriving in Detroit, Michigan where Rosa Parks awaits on the tarmac:

“He won’t know me,” Parks kept repeating, embarrassed that she had come.

Moments later the airplane’s door opened and Nelson Mandela accompanied by his then-wife Winnie appeared to the enthusiastic crowd, shouting “Viva Nelson!” and “Amandala!” the Swahili word for power. Slowly he made his way down the steps and toward the receiving line. Suddenly he froze, staring openmouthed in wonder. Tears filled his eyes as he walked up to the small old woman with her hair in two silver braids crossed atop her head.

And in a low, melodious tone, Nelson Mandela began to chant, “Ro-sa Parks. Ro-sa Parks. Ro-sa Parks,” until his voice crescendoed into a rapturous shout, “Ro-sa Parks!”

Then the two brave old souls, their lives so distant yet their dreams so close, fell into each other’s arms, rocking back and forth in a long, joyful embrace. And in that poignant, redemptive moment, the enduring dignity of the undaunted afforded mankind rare proof of its own progress.”

Rest in peace, Sister Rosa. Your good folks are still workin' it out.

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