Wayne grew up in Glendale, California and later became a beloved actor known for his tough guy roles in dozens of popular movies. In fact, he won an Oscar for his performance in “True Grit.”
Wayne was an American hero who loved his country and was not ashamed to express his patriotism.
However, Wayne critics pointed to his participation with the John Birch Society, his support of the House Un-American Activities Committee and his controversial comments about race in a 1971 Playboy Magazine interview.
In a free society, actors and other Americans should be allowed to affiliate with lawful organizations and congressional committees. Although his comments about African Americans were offensive, it is worth noting that they were made in 1971.
This controversy clearly shows that Wayne is held to a different standard from other well known liberal politicians. For example, the involvement of Robert Byrd with the KKK did not prevent Democrats from electing him to leadership positions in the U.S. Senate. Beloved Democrat Presidents such as Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson made very offensive comments about African Americans. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II. Still, Democrat leaders continue to honor the legacies of these three controversial presidents.
Wayne is different for California lawmakers for one major reason, he was a conservative. In fact, he supported Ronald Reagan for President and if he would not have died in 1979, he would certainly have campaigned for him in the 1980 presidential race.
Liberals have long memories about conservatives, yet have amnesia about fellow Democrats. In the case of Wayne, his incredible career is very worthy of being honored. He stood for American values and definitely loved his country. In fact, after his death from cancer, this family established a foundation to fight this dreaded disease.
The resolution to declare the actor’s birthday, May 26, 2016, as “John Wayne Day” was introduced by Assemblyman Matthew Harper. He represents a district that includes a large airport named after Wayne. In fact, visitors to the airport are welcomed by a nine-foot statue of Wayne.
Harper was stunned that his resolution was defeated by a vote of 35-20, noting that it represented “the orthodoxy of political correctness.” According to Harper, “opposing the John Wayne Day resolution is like opposing apple pie, fireworks, baseball, the Free Enterprise system and the Fourth of July.”
Well said, Assemblyman Harper; however, we are living in a new America. In the America of 2016, U.S. Presidents such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson are villains, not heroes, because they owned slaves. This was one of the reasons that just last week, Jackson’s image was removed from the front of the $20 bill.
In the debate, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, a Democrat, objected to honoring Wayne because “he had disturbing views towards race."
It is not fair to judge our celebrities or politicians of the past by today’s morals and values. It seems that liberals understand these obvious truths regarding their heroes, but American icons such as Wayne are judged by a more rigorous standard only because they espoused conservative values.
For liberals, all American heroes and traditions must be challenged. Watch out, apple pie could their next target.