So a longtime Republican Congressman from Florida, Bill Young, passed away last week and will be buried Thursday. He was a Republican in Florida before there was Republicans in Florida. He was first elected in 1972 and was the longest serving member of the Republican House Caucus. He was 82 years old. The House of Representatives will not be in session on Thursday so that members can attend his funeral.
Now, I hesitated in writing this, because when anyone dies, their families are due the upmost deference, sympathy and respect. But…
Young’s widow, Beverly Young, emailed the former Republican governor and likely future Democratic gubernatorial nominee, instructing him to stay away.
This e-mail is to officially advise you that your presence at my husband’s memorial services will be unacceptable. I have watched over the years, as Bill had, your transparent attempts to manipulate the political arena. I don’t want my husband’s memorial service to be another opportunity for that and I will not tolerate anyone turning this into a platform for political gain.
Please honor my families request.
Widow of Congressman Bill Young
Precisely what caused the bad blood was not immediately clear Monday night, though some Young allies were turned off with the way Crist in 2009 held a cattle call of sorts, summoning Young and other potential candidates for Crist to appoint to the unfinished term of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez. Young showed up looking in sneakers and baggy polo, as if Crist had interrupted his lawn mowing, and told a surprised Gov. Crist he had no interest in the appointment.
Mrs. Young said she also emailed Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice and St. Petersburg lawyer Jessica Ehrlich – both Democrats who ran against her husband – telling them they were unwelcome at the memorial service.
“BILL SPECIFICALLY said he didn’t want his memorial service to be a platform for local politicians to work the crowds. He’s right. It’s not only wrong , its disgusting to see that happen,” she said. “HE GAVE me the names of the people he wished wouldnt show up, that was just three and we both know i dont care about poltical correctness so i took it upon myself to honor his wishes.I’ve been at many political funerals and listened to locals standing in groups planning their strategies. God gave people souls, but some don’t know to take advantage of that God given gift.”
Now, I can understand not wanting political rivals to attend your husband’s or your own funeral. I don’t understand why she went to the press with this story. It would be one thing if Mrs. Young and Mr. Young did not want to suffer false displays of sympathies and respect from political rivals. If that were the case, she could have privately sent these emails and Crist and the two Democratic opponents most assuredly would have respected her wishes. But she didn’t. She wanted Crist and the two Democrats to suffer some … I don’t know what… I guess she wanted them to be disrespected. Publicly.
I really hope Mr. Young and his widow have never attended a funeral of a political rival in their pasts. I sure hope they didn’t do so for appearances sake. I hope they didn’t talk to other politicians and plan strategies during said memorials. But of course they have. They are Republicans. And they can do whatever they want. If the shoe were on the other foot, and a political rival publicly disinvited Mr. and Mrs. Young from his funeral, I tend to think that Mr. and Mrs. Young would be very publicly offended. The media would be outraged. We all remember the Paul Wellstone memorial, don’t we?
In a somewhat related topic, Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois posted this on his Facebook today:
Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn’t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans. But in a “negotiation” meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: “I cannot even stand to look at you.”
What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?
Respect. Only Republicans are entitled to it. And they can disrespect anyone at anytime for any reason with no consequence.