As Paul notes below, this is the day when we are all supposed to come together and agree that Martin Luther King’s entire public career consists of one line from one speech, which showed that his top priority was ensuring that mediocre white applicants be able to attend their first choice of college. So it’s worth remembering how he was actually perceived by the “respectable” wing of conservatism:
Some people are going to try it today, so lest there be any confusion, here's William F. Buckley on the killing of "conservative" Martin Luther King. pic.twitter.com/hGm8oHbVk4
— Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) January 15, 2018
It’s also worth noting that the 1964 Republican candidate for president opposed the Civil Rights Act. He lost, but the backlash against civil rights played a major role leading Republicans capturing the White House four years later. Nixon, the Last Liberal President (TM), made a major effort to undermine the Voting Rights Act, although he didn’t live to see his vision finally triumph at the hands of five “respectable” conservatives applying John Calhoun’s extratextual constitutional theories in 2013.
In other words, there cannot be a “depoliticization” of Martin Luther King while even the most basic elements of what he sought are being heavily contested. And things are getting worse, not better.