Thomas Jefferson would be ashamed if he were alive to see the manipulation apparent in today’s politics. Jefferson, who discouraged all manner of deception, lies, and illegitimacy, would barely recognize the country he helped father. If he and “Honest Ben” Franklin knew of the recent misattribution of opinions to the late Martin Luther King, Jr. they would have been ashamed to call themselves ‘mericans.
Every year around MLK Day, scumbag politicians jump at the opportunity to claim that the great former civil rights leader would have supported their specific political agenda and been woefully disappointed in the opposition. Whether the issue is NSA spying, drunk driving, or colonizing the moon, Martin Luther King Jr. apparently had an opinion. In case you were wondering, Patrick Henry would definitely have been pro moon-colonizing. He loved colonies.
“Give me colonies, or give me death.” — Patrick Henry
This kind of political manipulation is everywhere. Pictures of MLK are constantly put behind messages that have absolutely nothing to do with what he stood for. Some of the more ridiculous examples involve issues that he was never even alive to see. Men like John Adams would have never posted pictures like that to Facebook. Furthermore, they would have been against posting pictures to Facebook entirely. Remember that the next time you take a selfie with your iPhone — Alexander Graham Bell would have hated that. And don’t even get me started on John Hancock and texting.
But King is not the only leader that this happens to. Legendary figures are misquoted all the time in order to help prove points.
“I never said half the things you people say I did, this is bullshit.” — Abraham Lincoln
In order to preserve the memory of our forefathers and great American icons, it is important that we all double- and triple-check our facts, just like George Washington would have wanted. Former political figures have no place in modern day discourse, and their thoughts and ideas are only relevant to their own time. As Alexander Hamilton once said to his close personal friend Aaron Burr:
“Keep my name out yo mouth.”