Saturday, November 29, 2008

Harvey Milk and Jim Jones

Harvey Milk was a gifted political leader and a heroic figure in the struggle for gay rights. On the other hand, like every other city progressive at that time---including Willie Brown, the Burton brothers, and George Moscone---Milk was blind to the sordid reality behind the People's Temple. Long after he should have known better, Milk was running political errands for Jones, like the letter to President Carter in February, 1978:

Rev. Jones is widely known in the minority communities here and elsewhere as a man of the highest character, who has undertaken constructive remedies for social problems which have been amazing in their scope and effectiveness. He is also highly regarded amongst church, labor, and civic leaders of a wide range of political persuasions. Our own Board of Supervisors has presented Rev. Jones with a Certificate of Honor, unanimously passed by all members, praising the church for its many projects "which have been so beneficial to all the citizens of the Bay Area." On the same occasion, he was also presented with a unanimously passed resolution by a Republican State Senator, Milton Marks representing that legislative body.

Beware of bipartisan unanimity!