Whistleblower? Hero? Traitor?
High school drop out. Community college dropout. GED recipient.
Edward Snowden has one label in Gus' book. Suspected Racist. Wouldn't care if remained exiled in Siberia forever. None of his "leaks" have improved the quality of life for non-white people, avenged Trayon Martin, or helped solve a single problem. He's not even sharing "news". The System of White Supremacy is and will remain a "surveillance state". Whites have performed all manner of reconnaissance and infiltration on non-white people since time immemorial. In fact, wiretapping is mild relative to the limitless terrorism Whites have perpetuated against us.
Exhibit A: Leanita McClain's January 15th, 1984 column on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. McClain discussed the content of specious wiretaps against Dr. King - and countless other non-whites who worked to establish Justice. McClain was also a Victim of Racism; she struggled with depression and ultimately committed suicide. This essay is a part of her poignant, sad collection A Foot In Each World: Essays and Articles by Leanita McClain.
Curious can't undo King's heroism
Today is the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in its way a holy day for black folks.
Dr. King's heroism and power to stir remain with me and millions of other people of all colors who seeks and work for goodness and justice, though they may never find it. The nonviolent teachings, the valor, the love of Dr. King remain as surely as the remembrance of the sight of him, gesturing, enunciating and rising up physically at the lectern as if to soar along with the crescendo of his awesome message.
This is the first time this day has arrived with deserved national recognition, although the official federal holiday will not take effect until 1986 (on the third Monday of January). After 15 years of oversight, Congress last October finally passed legislation making Dr. King's birthday the 10th legal federal public holiday. The legislation was originally introduced within days of his assassination in April 1968.
In death, as in life, the perseverance espoused by Dr. King ultimately frustrated his maligners. Yet one of their ringleaders, Sen. Jesse Helms (R., N.C.), could not let the matter come to a close without vilifying Dr. King as an "action-oriented Marxist." Worse, Helms tried to impart some honor to his true intent by decrying the cost of yet another paid holiday for federal workers. And most unforgivable, he sought to have the courts lift the seal on FBI bugs and wiretaps of Dr. King, shamelessly disregarding the family's desire and agreement with the government that they be sealed for 50 years.
There is an issue on those tapes. It is: How solid are one's heroes?
Curiosity would have you wonder what is in them that is so spurious, that would be so calamitous if revealed. What is suspected about the contents of the tapes already gives them "negative inference," a legal term essentially meaning that the absence of proof that they are not damaging becomes proof that they are.
The tapes reportedly contain snippets revealing that the amazing marcher and preacher was also an amazing womanizer. I believe it was Jesse Jackson years ago who brushed aside the sexual innuendos with a remark to the effect that if indeed "Martin could have done all that marching and all that preaching and still run around, he was surely a 'king'."
On this, his birthday, I respond with a similar "So what?" Curiosity has me itching to know what is in the tapes, yet I respectfully grant the King family's right to and wish for privacy, in perpetuity if necessary.
Sources with even the slightest notion of the tapes' contents warn that a revelation might undo Dr. King's image and perhaps some of his social good, that besides the embarrassment to his family, bigots would have cause to revel.
But a crack in one's idol is not cause to smash it, to denounce it and turn away.
Such is the price paid by public people in their private lives. Or sometimes in their public lives, since the most fascinating twist on the story is that then - Atty. General Robert F. Kennedy, who is perceived as having been in step with civil rights, authorized the eavesdropping. Sen. Edward Kennedy, having to lower himself in acrimonious debate with Helms, defended his late brother: "If [he] were alive today, he would be the first person to say it was wrong to wiretap Martin Luther King."
And I think that, were Dr. King alive he would be the first to forgive the authorization.
Such was the manner of the public man in life, and such will he be throughout time.
What Dr. King did publicly was to shame this nation into searching its conscience and giving to a people what should have been theirs anyway. He flung words so might they pierced the hardest hearts and brought about civil rights legislation. These are what will last. What he did in private will not, not even on tape.