Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Charlton Heston

Today is Charlton Heston's 82nd birthday. Since he announced to the world that he had Alzheimer's disease - Chuck Heston hasn't made many public appearances. I even had to double check to see if he was still alive.

It seems to me that the political voyage of Charlton Heston is a reflection of the changes many in the country have also undergone these past 50 years. Heston was a civil rights crusader (he marched with Martin Luther king Jr.) and the Democrats asked him to run for Senate in California in 1969 but the left turn of the Democratic Party turned him off and made him more conservative in his views.

In the early 60's - Heston could have been the face of the Democratic Party. Now he's viewed as an icon of arch-conservativism. When you know the history - the transformation is enlightening. Chances are that Heston always remained the same person but it was the Democratic Party that changed. Take a look at this quote from 2003:
"There is no duty more noble than that which has called you across the world in defense of freedom. Yours is a mission of hope and humanity for the oppressed. Rest assured that while pretend-patriots talk of supporting you, even as they condemn your noble cause, an unwavering vast majority of Americans share and take pride in your mission. You represent all that is good and right about America and are the true face of American patriotism. You walk in those same righteous footsteps of all those patriots who, before you, fought to preserve liberty for all. Our prayers and our personal gratitude are with you and your families. May God Bless You, Charlton and Lydia Heston." - Message sent to the US troops in Iraq, April 2003
It is tough to imagine a Democratic Party icon making that statement in 2003 but could you see a Democratic stalwart from the early 1960's saying it (think of Kennedy's "bear any burden" attitude)?

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