Misguided (or bigoted) politicians who have attacked Martin Luther King, Jr. or disrespected the holiday in his honor have done so at their own peril over the years. In the late 1980s, Arizona Governor Evan Mecham cancelled the state’s MLK holiday saying, “King doesn’t deserve a holiday” and telling African-American leaders, “You don’t need another holiday. You need to get jobs.” A boycott of the state ensued. Mecham was eventually removed office.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage is getting some serious heat of his own over MLK Day. LePage has turned down several offers, including some from the state NAACP, to participate in MLK Day events this past weekend and today. When NAACP officials said they felt “neglected” by the governor, LePage told a reporters his critics could, “Kiss my butt.” He added, “If they want to play the race card, come to dinner and my son will talk to them,” referring to Devon Richard, a 25-year-old black Jamaican whom LePage took into his home at the age of 17.
LePage’s spokesman said the governor turned down the invitations because of “prior commitments.”