The historical perspective on the great honor of stopping in the Rotunda on the way to becoming dust is very helpful. Sen. Schumer seemed to confirm the crass political motives interpretation today.
His statement on the Alito nomination is remarkable for its narcissism. His first sentence would be about the demands of the law, the honor of the court, right? Right? Nope. “This morning I went and visited Rosa Parks in the Capitol Rotunda to pay my respects.” Schumer then goes on to invoke Parks’ memory to score political points against Alito. Dead people can’t object to being made objects.
Such use of the recently dead reads like a caricature. Astute history students know it happens, but much more subtly. Fiction captures the essence of Schumer’s moment so well. In Fight Club, when a foot soldier in Tyler Durden’s Project Mayhem is shot and killed by police, Jack objects to the group dumping the body in the garden without dignity. Jack insists that he wasn’t a faceless soldier, but a person, Robert Paulson. Instead of the name or life meaning something, the mob turns his name into a chant. Chilling.