Martin Luther King and the Republican Race For Righteousness

If I believed in a god, and one with a sense of humor, I would think she had a big chuckle over timing the South Carolina Republican primary for the same week the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Day.

On May 2, 2000, South Carolina became the last state to make King's birthday an official state holiday. But South Carolina also then created another official state holiday on May 10 -- Confederate Memorial Day. Prior to this legislation, state employees had the choice of celebrating the birthday of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, or Martin Luther King.

Some of our South Carolina politicians think nothing of rewriting history, even when they can easily be caught. For instance, Congressman Joe Wilson claimed that he spearheaded the effort to have King's birthday recognized. A friend of Wilson's from his state legislature days said Wilson must have been confused about which holiday he supported, which was really Confederate Memorial Day. When confronted with circumstantial evidence, Wilson said his memory must have failed him. (This is the same Joe Wilson who famously yelled "You lie!" at the country's first African-American president during a speech to a joint session of Congress.)

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul voted against Martin Luther King Day both in 1979 and 1983, when the bill passed. In one of his newsletters, Paul referred to the holiday as "Hate Whitey Day." Paul, who is viewed as the presidential candidate least likely to lie, claimed that he neither wrote nor read the newsletters that bore his name.

Read remainder of article on The Huffington Post.

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