Friday, April 4, 2008

McCain Nixed King Holiday


McCain's history with the MLK holiday gets even worse. According to ABC News, he was not only against it for the state of Arizona, he supported rescinding it after it was already state law:
In Arizona, a bill to recognize a holiday honoring MLK failed in the legislature, so then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt, a Democrat, declared one through executive order.

In January 1987, the first act of Arizona's new governor, Republican Evan Mecham, was to rescind the executive order by his predecessor to create an MLK holiday. Arizona's stance became a national controversy.

McCain backed the decision at the time. But eventually he changed his mind.

If John McCain learned his lesson, he sure took his time.

The GOP is trying hard to, pardon the pun, whitewash its racist past with claptrap like this from the state GOP. Now via the Wall Street Journal we are reminded that John McCain voted against a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. back in 1983:

But when McCain first came to Congress in 1983, he opposed creating a federal holiday. The House vote was 338-90 and President Reagan signed the bill into law later that year.

McCain said earlier this week that he had not understood the issue. Asked what he later learned, he said, “I learned that this individual was a transcendent figure in American history. He deserved to be honored… I had not really been involved in the issue. I just had not had a lot of experience with the issue.”

He grew testy when asked what he did not understand. He also noted that his adopted state of Arizona does not have a large African-American population, and said the U.S. military, where he had spent his entire adult life before running for Congress, is the “greatest equal opportunity employer in America. It was then and it is today.”

Well, except for the gay thing. But I digress.

So, McCain didn’t understand what the civil rights movement was about? Really? One didn’t have to live in the thick of it to understand what was happening in the 1950s and 1960s. His "failure to understand" shows either a shocking lack of interest or an even worse disengagement from one of this country's most transcendent struggles.

Geez, do we really need someone like this as POTUS? We’ve barely survived eights years of “no one could have anticipated” ... do we need another four?