McCain's Dismal MLK Record Proves He Didn't Believe in King's Dream or Civil Rights

John McCain is going to appear in Memphis today, on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. That's worthy of a brass balls award as the Arizona senator has a long history of opposing civil rights legislation, including the federal MLK holiday, something he voted against as a Congressman in 1983. He now says he "evolved" and regrets that vote.


In 1983, when I was brand-new in the Congress, I voted against the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King. That was a mistake, OK? And later I had the chance to ... help fight for ... the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King as a holiday in my state."
The good folks at Color of Change have a fact sheet up on McCain's civil rights record. It's questionable whether his evolution is occurring at even a glacial pace. Decide for yourself as you read the items below.


Arizona Governor Rescinded Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In 1987, One of newly elected Governor Evan Mecham's first acts in office was to rescind Arizona's recognition of the Martin Luther King Holiday. "Mecham strikes many voters as a simpleminded ideologue who is giving a bad name to the nation's second-fastest-growing state. After rescinding the Jan. 19 holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Mecham defended the use of the term "pickaninnies" for blacks." Time 11/9/87]

McCain Said He Thought Governor Was Correct in His Decision
 According to the Huffington Post, "In 1983, McCain voted against passing a bill to designate the third Monday of every January as a federal holiday in honor of King. Four years later, then-Arizona Governor Evan Mecham rescinded Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday, saying it had been established through an illegal executive order by his Democratic predecessor.  McCain said he thought Mecham was correct in his decision." [Sam Stein, Huffington Post, 4/1/08]  

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.