Thursday, 7 January 2016

Letters: Charlton Heston: The real story

Once again, Stuart Caesar tries to appear reasonable and once again, he fails abysmally.

In the past, Mr. Caesar has shown precious little understanding of political and economic theories like socialism and communism, so discovering he was equally misinformed about capitalism is not a surprise.

But, in criticizing Fatimah Ali's critique of Glenn Beck's dissing of Martin Luther King Jr. and his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech, he makes the bizarre and unrelated point that Charlton Heston (Oscar-winning actor, gun-rights activist and archconservative) was in Washington in 1963 at the same rally.

Not to downplay that, but with an estimated crowd of 250,000, lots of people were in D.C. that day. The Hollywood contingent alone included Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Lena Horne, Marlon Brando, Harry Belafonte and many others.

As a big fan of Heston, Mr. Caesar should know that Heston was a complex man and far more interesting than the "sound-bite" style of contemporary conservative politics.

Early on, Heston was quite liberal, supporting Adlai Stevenson and JFK for president and actively protesting the Vietnam War.

After JFK's assassination, Heston, along with many other Hollywood actors, called for much stricter gun control. (Yeah, that Charlton Heston!)

But, like many people of his generation, as he aged, Heston's political views changed, and he ultimately became a Republican and supported Ronald Reagan and Poppa George Bush. His views on gun control also hardened, and he became a big supporter of the National Rifle Association.

And all of this was his right, but it certainly wasn't where his politics were at in 1963 during the March on Washington!

Heston, the man and the great American actor, deserves to have the complexities of his political thoughts considered fairly and fully.


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