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Back to the peanut gallery, Jimmy

Y'all knew I was going to have to talk about the funeral didn't you?

I don't really want to understand. All I'm going to do is stir folks up with my politically incorrect remarks and get accused of all sorts of things by people who aren't willing to think about what I am actually saying. But millions of folks have been thinking what I've been thinking since Tuesday, and most people are afraid to say it. I'm not.

Don't get me wrong now. I have all the respect in the world for Coretta Scott King and the troubles she was forced to endure during her lifetime. And because she handled those challenges with an uncommon grace and quiet dignity, she deserved a farewell that befitted the life she lived.

It's a shame she didn't get that.

Now I realize that she was a public figure and whenever a public figure - particularly one as prominent as King - passes there is bound to be a great degree of pomp and circumstance and more than a little political posturing. Having said that, let me say this: Jimmy Carter and the Rev. Joseph Lowery ought to be ashamed of themselves for their disgraceful display at the woman's memorial service.

That's just my opinion of course, but mine is the only one I have. You would think that both Lowery and Carter are old enough to know better, and I would have thought they both would have been raised better - but apparently they aren't and weren't.

Lowery's words were those of a buffoon - trying to rhyme every line and making completely disassociated remarks about the weapons of mass destruction that he says never existed in Iraq.

Iraq? Weapons of mass destruction? At a funeral?

It was obvious to anyone with a brain that Lowery's goal was not to honor King but to call attention to himself and to embarrass the president of the United States.

This is a free country and Lowery has every right to express his opinions about the president, the war, the price of Spam in Perote, Ala., or any other subject on his mind. But a funeral - any funeral - is neither the time nor the place for political ranting. He made Teddy Kennedy sound eloquent.

And as bad as Lowery was, Carter was much, much worse.

Carter couldn't do anything right when he was president but has known exactly what should be done in every circumstance since leaving the Oval Office. Yeah, I know. "He wasn't a very good president, but he is the best ex-president we've ever had." You can believe that if you want, but I don't buy it. Not for one minute.

The best ex-president we ever had wouldn't spend as much time as Carter spends trying to second-guess, undermine and discredit those who followed him into that high office.

He has never passed up a chance to criticize a single one of his successors - including Ronald Reagan, both Bushes and Bill Clinton, who thankfully when his turn to speak came at the funeral had the good sense and decency to remind everyone that "there's a woman in that coffin" in the midst of the political madness that Lowery and Carter instigated.

Carter, in case you haven't heard, didn't mention WMDs but did bring up federal wiretaps and racial discrimination. Carter's only purpose - his only purpose - in mentioning that King and her late husband had been subjected to government wiretaps was to express his displeasure over the fact that the current president is willing to listen in on al-Qaida operatives.

This coming from the man who a little over a year ago traveled to Cuba and appeared at a baseball game with Fidel Castro - and they were wearing matching shirts, by the way.

And of course Carter went out of his way to insinuate that President Bush had somehow contrived to discriminate against thousands of black folks in Katrina's aftermath - and on and on and on.

I was ashamed to be from the same state. I know there are those out there who revere the man, and you are entitled to your opinion just as I am entitled to mine.

When Carter was running for president in 1976 the world discovered his brother, Billy, who ran a filling station in Plains. Billy once said, "My mother went into the Peace Corps when she was 68. My one sister is a motorcycle freak, my other sister is a Holy Roller evangelist, and my brother is running for president. I'm the only one in my family that has good sense."

Truer words were never spoken. Billy Carter knew his brother quite well. And my opinion of Jimmy Carter is about the same as that of former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox, who once told me it's OK for a president to grow peanuts but he ought not think like one.

Carter's aim was to make the 43rd president look bad. He undershot his mark - about four spaces.

Darrell Huckaby is a Newton County native and the author of six books. He lives in Rockdale County, where he teaches high school history. Visit his Web site at www.darrellhuckaby.net.