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EDITORIALS ELSEWHERE

One woman's legacy

October 26, 2005|Michael Newman

THE LEGACY OF Rosa Parks is the subject of many editorials this morning (including one on this page), and part of its greatness is that it allows for such varied interpretations.

For the Wall Street Journal, Parks represents a kind of moral clarity. "Mrs. Parks defied an unjust law -- the definition of civil disobedience -- and changed both minds and the law." That's a discipline that today's activists (this means you, Cindy Sheehan) would do well to emulate, says the Journal.

The Christian Science Monitor emphasizes her global influence. "When a single Chinese student faced off with a tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989, Nelson Mandela called it 'a Rosa Parks moment.' " The Detroit Free Press, in contrast, paid tribute on Tuesday to her local achievements, noting her work for the youth of Detroit, where she moved in 1957. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes the impact Parks had on undergraduates at Spelman College, who were inspired by her example "to stop the degradation of women in hip-hop music." And USA Today warns against letting her lessons fade with time, although it's not too hopeful. "Time erodes memory of even the brightest heroes," says its editorial. "More so when their heroism recalls the darkest aspects of our past."

Meanwhile, the New York Times is concerned with the plight of the downtrodden in the here and now, excoriating House Republicans for proposing cuts in Medicaid and welfare benefits. The GOP's "desperate" suggestions are little more than "gross political posturing" and are variously called "harmful," "draconian," "boneheaded" and "appalling." That's a lot of adjectives for a 300-word editorial.

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Michael Newman

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