Forty years ago, America was shamed when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King was one of the great leaders of the 20th century, devoting his life to the cause of equality for all.
The question is: Did Martin Luther King really think of America as a bad country or a good country? Did he despise it the way Jeremiah Wright does? Or did he respect it? And that question is very difficult to answer precisely.
On July 4, 1965, King said: "God somehow called America to do a special job for mankind and the world. Never before in the history of the world have so many racial groups and so many national backgrounds assembled together in one nation."
If you study Dr. King's life, it's clear he had great hope for America, while disagreeing with many of its policies. And there's no question that America gave Martin Luther King Jr. a very hard time. He obviously did not have an easy life.
But here's something interesting. Juan Williams rightly points out Friday in a perceptive Wall Street Journal article that Dr. King did not paint black Americans as victims as some black leaders do today. And he did not fabricate stuff in order to insult America the way Wright does.
As you may know, we have been reporting on the growing support for Jeremiah Wright's anti-American rhetoric. In fact, there's a meeting tonight in Chicago, where a bunch of clergy will tell the whole world what a great guy Wright is.
As we also reported, a Catholic priest, Michael Pfleger, is leading the pro-Wright movement. And so far, Cardinal Francis George seems frightened to confront the situation. That's not unusual in the Catholic Church in America. The leaders are very frightened.
Now there is no question that millions of Americans do despise the USA. I hate to say it, but it's true. And they see themselves as victims of oppression from a corrupt government and system. Speaking Friday in Memphis, Tennessee, Senator McCain got a taste of that as he tried to apologize for a past mistake.
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JOHN MCCAIN: A mistake I myself made long ago, I myself made long ago, when I voted against a federal holiday in memory of Dr. King.
MCCAIN: I was wrong. I was wrong.
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Now Dr. King, of course, would have forgiven John McCain, but we don't get that from many members of our society today.
Now "Talking Points" believes Americans should take a side in these matters. We either live in a noble country or we don't. I believe we do. And I will challenge people who see it the other way.
And even though the polls show most Americans agree with me, there are powerful forces on the other side. Earlier this week we pointed out that Hollywood has made a bunch of anti-American movies, all of them a bomb. But Hollywood keeps churning them on out.
So summing up, we have a number of Americans who despise their own country. No doubt about that. We have a number of media people who feel the same way. And we have a lot of people who do love America, not saying a word, afraid of getting what John McCain just got. Not a good situation. I think we'll all agree with that.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
We like Mia Farrow, who used to be married to Frank Sinatra and Woody Allen. Not at the same time, of course.
She does good things for kids and this summer will be trying to get relief for the suffering people in Darfur. So for all of this, Mia Farrow is a patriot.
On the pinhead front, Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, is sympathetic to Heather Mills.
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YOKO ONO, WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON: All I can say is that it isn't easy for women to be associated with The Beatles. I think all wives did suffer and suffered, I think, quietly suffered.
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Call me cynical, but being the wife of a Beatle means you live in luxury 24/7, you're famous, even though you've never done anything. So for every downside — I know there are some — there seems to be quite an upside. Yoko may be a pinhead this evening.