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In the Path of the Cancel Culture Mob

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo

Throughout the nation, the ‘woke’ mob is engaged in a cultural purge seeking to cancel anyone from American history and current public life who they deem ‘unworthy.’ Since everyone has transgressed to some extent, perhaps the vital issue is, "At what point does the transgression overcome the good?" Or, stated more positively, "At what point does the good a person has done outweigh the misdeeds?"


Suppose we help the “cancelling crowd” and explore some notables in American history to see what laurels should be stripped from their legacy. Martin Luther King, Jr. plagiarized vast sections of his doctoral thesis, as has been well documented by major liberal newspapers and even by the institution that honored him with his doctorate.

Boston University has admitted knowledge of the transgression, that MLK plagiarized large portions of his doctoral dissertation and that the university had knowledge of such plagiarism at the time. Yet, the decision was made to award him a doctorate. After all, he was an otherwise brilliant, promising student, and Boston University was pleased to have had him in its program.

Rewarded, not Expelled

One hundred out of one hundred other students in graduate school programs found to have plagiarized vast portions of their doctoral dissertations would be expelled from the respective programs: No doctorate, no graduation, no honors, in fact deep dishonor. Is it not fitting to strip Martin Luther King, Jr., posthumously, of the legions of awards and distinctions bestowed upon them?

Virtually every major metro area has a Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Scores and scores of schools are named after him, not to mention community centers, libraries, and other civic and social institutions. Numerous scholarships are named after him. Indeed, MLK is revered as the foremost civil rights leader of our time: America celebrates his birthday in January, as a federal holiday, while stripping Abraham Lincoln and George Washington of such distinction, in favor of the little-acknowledged, "Presidents’ Day."


Can someone who cheated his way to academic distinction and thus be given the title “Dr.” be allowed, posthumously, to retain such honors?

"Not fair," you say, to put MLK under the spotlight. Surely his brilliance was evident to everyone, and he made a distinct and positive impact on our culture.

When Transgressions Abound

It's been said great men are not always good men and the corollary is true for women as well. If we're going to go on a vigilante hunt of the famous men and women in history, and defame them when we find something heinous, or merely unpalatable, we might have no one left.

The transgressions of John F. Kennedy are legion. Besides being a serial philanderer, his constant patronage of prostitutes put him in the path of extortionists. He also initiated sex with White House interns (as young as 18) on numerous occasions. A former JFK intern, Mimi Alford, among many others, has documented his unforgivable behavior.

Yet, JFK is still on the 50¢ piece and the so-named Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts sits un-mired on the Potomac River in Washington. The so-named JFK Airport in New York, JFK Federal buildings, schools, libraries, awards, and distinctions all named after him remain intact.


A Force for Good?

"Wait," you say. According to many people JFK was a force for good. Hmm... What about Ted Kennedy? He was negligent in the suffocation death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Forensic evidence, suppressed at the time, reveals that she suffocated slowly; she did not drown. Ted Kennedy had time to save her, but waited an incredible nine hours before reporting the incident to the Edgartown authorities. A non-profit educational institution and museum founded in 2009 was named for him: the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Years before Mary Jo, Edward Kennedy was concerned about his athletic eligibility at Harvard for the coming year. He arranged to have a friend sit in for him to take a Spanish language final examination. The ploy failed, and, unlike Martin Luther King, Jr., Kennedy was expelled. Nothing stopped a majority of voters in Massachusetts from enabling him to become the fourth longest serving senator in U.S. history, a tenure of nearly 47 years, ending with his death.

The Undeserving

If you're sincere in outing historical figures who are undeserving of posthumous accolades, guess what? Hundreds of other historical figures long revered by Democrats are now on the chopping block: Franklin Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt, for openers. And among contemporaries, once we get rolling: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and yes, Joe Biden.


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