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John Kerry and the Underbelly of History, John Kerry and the Underbelly of the Present

Watching the wake for Martha Coakley on television Tuesday night, I saw John Kerry hobbling into the Sheraton Boston ballroom, his crutches supporting the hip replacement he'd had last week.

What a difference between this very serious and cerebral senator and the lightweight who aspired to join him in the upper house of the U.S. Congress.

I allude to two efforts by Kerry to reveal facts that others would prefer to leave undisturbed.

The first is a scandal of history. It has been quite evident that J. Edgar Hoover pursued Martin Luther King, Jr. in his life and after his murder. And there are others who did likewise. My friend (yes, alas, from the old SNCC days) Representative John Lewis is a vocal supporter of Kerry’s bill to establish an MLK Records Review Board that would preserve and inquire into "all records - public and private - related to the life and death of Dr. King, including any investigation or inquiries in federal, state, or local agencies."

Bryan Bender published this fascinating dispatch the Boston Globe on Monday. One of the concerns that Bender mentions is that "private revelations could embarrass King's family or tarnish his legacy." No private indiscretions and revelations--many of which were already known during his lifetime--can possibly tarnish his legacy. What worries me is that his family, a greedy bunch of warring misfits, might intrude on this venture and try to turn it into private profit. Kerry is doing something for history. It will surely divulge and chasten.

The second instance of investigation and disclosure is by Kerry and his Foreign Relations Committee staff. Reported by the Associated Press in Wednesday's Globe, "Dozens of Muslim ex-convicts believed to have traveled to Yemen, report says," the subject itself is verböten by many multiculturalists who simply don't like bad news. And then there are the protective Islamic lobbies. Visits to Yemen these days, especially by Muslim ex-cons, quite naturally raises suspicions. Are they going to Sana to look at camels? Or maybe to build sand castles?

This also reminds of the dozens of young Somali-Americans from Dearborn, Michigan who went to their families' home country and joined up with the terror network. Or the five young Virginia jihadists who, in early December, leaving behind what looked like martyrs’ film messages, ended up in Pakistan and were (fortunately) arrested. Looking into these shadowy journeys takes a little bravery among liberals, and Kerry has it.