One day after remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. and all he did, I believe it's also worth our time to remember what was done to him, not by other men of his time, but by the government which so many of us put our trust in to protect us and uphold our rights.
From 1963 until his death in 1968, Dr. King was targeted by the FBI, reportedly even to the point of being obsessed over by then FBI Director J Edgar Hoover. This obsession and targeting manifested itself in many ways, which included illegal wiretapping and surveillance of Dr. King. The material gathered from that surveillance would be used in a brazen attempt by the FBI to blackmail Dr. King into committing suicide in order to stop him from continuing his public work in the civil rights movement.
If you're not familiar with the history then you might be surprised to find out that no one was ever held accountable. J Edgar Hoover remained FBI Director until his death several years later, and was honored as a national hero. Those who helped him engage in this work continued on in the FBI, and that legacy has continued on until the present. But it should be no surprise that accountability rarely if ever comes for those in these government agencies and the elected officials who enable them, as misconduct like this is only disclosed to the public decades later.
Which also begs the question: how do we hold anyone accountable for what the government is doing when we don't know what that even is? What types of vile misconduct are government agencies engaged in today at taxpayer expense, and when will we find out about it?
Too often our tendency here in the US, when looking back at events like this, is to believe that all of this is in the past and that the government we have today and its many departments and agencies would never do anything like this. But how would you know? How can you know? As long as we maintain the status quo of government secrecy, so fiercely and consistently defended by both Republicans & Democrats, we have no chance.
And while many of us have diverse ideas about the legitimacy of taxation in its many forms, I don't know a single American who would consent to have their tax dollars spent on this kind of behavior. That's why they never want you to find out about it. But you have a right to know, and it's time we send people to represent us in Washington, DC who recognize that right.