The left, which has been so eager to topple statues of Confederate generals, slave-owning founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson, even Kate Smith who sang objectionable racist songs early in her career, now has a Martin Luther King, Jr. problem.
According to the Daily Mail:
Secret FBI tapes that accuse Martin Luther King Jr of having extramarital affairs with '40 to 45 women' and even claim he 'looked on and laughed' as a pastor friend raped a parishioner exist, an author has claimed.
The civil rights hero was also heard allegedly joking he was the founder of the 'International Association for the Advancement of P***y-Eaters' on an agency recording that was obtained by bugging his room, according to the sensational claims made by biographer David Garrow - a Pulitzer prize-winning author and biographer of MLK.
Writing in British magazine Standpoint, Garrow says that the shocking files could lead to a 'painful historical reckoning' for the man who is celebrated across the world for his campaign against racial injustice.
That's pretty disgusting stuff. And for the left, which has lived by the statue-toppling, it can now die by the statue-toppling. It toppled Confederate statues and sought to erase the founding fathers from the history books, so now all the streets named for the great civil rights leader, all the postage stamps, the schools, the history book lessons, the holiday, the statues, the sculptures, and the memorials, well, they can take them down now over the p****y-grabbing talk and the rape witnessing report as King was pretty much Weinstein-level in his transgressions.
At a minimum, it might just demonstrate the stupidity of moving too fast on lionizing people who are far from perfect. Same thing happened with Earth Day and the repugnant personal history of its founder, though the King case is far more significant.
Since the left sees things solely in terms of black and white and everyone's either a hero or a Nazi, it's now going to be squirming for awhile.
For the rest of us, these revelations are an opportunity to reassert a broader appreciation of culture and history with the gift of cultural context. Apparently, conservatives can hold it in their heads that a someone who can do great deeds can also be a heel on the side. King was and remains a great leader despite this shadow because he led the civil rights movement for legal equality and equal opportunity. He remains great for the things we know he was great for: Having his children judged not by the color of their skin but the content of their character. Having favored one set of laws for everyone, not two-tier systems.
Great personalities often have great flaws, and people with the big egos needed to be drawn to political things can often be guilty of appalling acts in private life, which might be one way of explaining King. The awful details on King's private behavior, culled from illegal surveillance, doesn't change the good that he did. It just gives some context and raises a note of humility, making him less a superhero and more of a human being.
Which brings us to Pete Buttigieg and his campaign to erase another American hero, Thomas Jefferson from the canon of respectable people on account of his colonial-era slaveholding and #MeToo behavior. On his logic, now we either erase everyone with such violations and ignore their historic achievements, all the reasons the statues and memorials went up, or we develop a mature understanding of human multi-dimensionality. Buttigieg likes the former so is he now ready to rename every street named after Martin Luther King, Jr.? Let's see him get busy on it or else explain to use why hypocrisy and double standards work better.
For the rest of us, maybe a recognition that historic context matters and the development of a capacity to see people as multi-dimensional would work better. This would apply to Confederate generals, it would also apply to Martin Luther King, Jr.
It would be nice if the extremism seen on the left around statue-toppling comes to a halt with these King revelations but it probably isn't going to happen.
One reason is that it's increasingly coming to light that Democrats aren't on the same page as King. He's no hero to them. Not only was King a lifelong Republican, his vision for the U.S., with equality of opportunity rather than equality of results, of judging each person individually rather than by members of their color-matched group, of a single set of laws for everyone, is a quintessentially a conservative American idea. Democrats, remember, were his biggest opponents during his heyday, and in way, they still are now.
It's been a long, slow, time coming, but they're probably out to get rid of him from the history books too in favor of someone more "woke." As King stood for equality of opportunity, the left has since twisted his legacy to equality of results and created identity politics, premised on garden-variety tribalism and group identity little different from what's found in most third world hellholes. Worse still, they converted it into an established and entrenched bureaucracy, visible in universities, government and on the bench.
How do we know this? Well, because King has descendents, such as the Rev. Alveda King, who is an outspoken proponent of the King legacy of the sacredness of life. She's keeping the original flame lit, so it's obvious the good there was real.
The sad thing here is that just as the left probably secretly hates the good stuff King did, it also secretly hates the good stuff the founding fathers and maybe the Confederate generals, the Alamo defenders and Padre Junipero Serra - did. They want America erased actually, and some kind of left-wing dictatorship to replace it. It's not about the bad stuff, it's the good stuff the left can't stand. Now let's see how take on the matter of trying to topple King.