Clicked on this video to hear what Hedges had to say, but it starts off with the head of the Souther Poverty Law Center. I’ve cued the video to just before the moment he declares that Benjamin Franklin was a member of the Radical Right. Yup. Benjamin Franklin.
I don’t think we need to counter this anachronistic reclassification of historical figures by means of a whitewashed cartoon. Better, I think, if we could grasp the essence of Hamlet’s view of his own father:
My father!–methinks I see my father.
Where, my lord?
In my mind’s eye, Horatio.
I saw him once; he was a goodly king.
He was a man, take him for all in all…
Which, of course, we grow increasingly unable to do, given that the idea of “a man” has been deprecated to the point of being a slur. Rather than this sober sense of a composite human being, imperfect yet admirable, we live under a growing tyranny of perfection, judged against a hypothetical standard of ahistorical innocence.