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Reason: Have your views changed since you were a Stevensonian Democrat, or has the Democratic Party changed?
Heston: The latter. I think the Democratic Party has moved sharply to the left in the last 20 years. If you read the inaugural address Jack Kennedy gave, you'll realize he could not possibly have given it on the platform the Democrats concocted at the last convention in San Francisco.
Reason: You were active in the civil rights movement in the early '60s. The Republicans were not involved-the Democrats were on the side of the angels, weren't they?
Heston: Well, I think a great segment of the American people was. A good many southern Democrats had their heels pretty deeply dug in, but it was not really a partisan position. I think it cut pretty broadly across the entire spectrum.
Reason: In retrospect, are you proud of your role in the civil rights movement? Heston: Yes, I am indeed. Again, I think that movement has become radicalized. I knew Dr. King. I was proud to have followed him. I am very proud of the fact that I led the arts contingent on the civil rights march in the summer of '63. In many ways, I think it was the high-water mark of the civil rights movement. It has been widely credited-that single event-with being responsible for the passage of the Civil Rights Act the following year in the Congress.
Reason: King has been deified by progressives as well as the federal government, with the holiday, while on the right, people like Jesse Helms seem to think that he was a Communist dupe or something.
Heston: I question that. He was not a saint. He was a man, even like Moses was a man. He was a charismatic and effective leader who recognized the importance and the capacity for nonviolence to succeed. Even men who knew him then, like Jesse Jackson, have not recognized that.
Reason: Are you a disciple of nonviolence?
Heston: No. But Dr. King was. As was Gandhi. Both were fortunate in that they practiced nonviolence against people like Lyndon Johnson and Winston Churchill... Reason: Rather than Joe Stalin.
Heston: Yeah. Nonviolence is-it's impossible in the world to support such an idea.
Reason: The public perception of you politically is that you are...
Heston: A registered Fascist.
Reason: Are you comfortable with the label "conservative"?
Heston: Yes. Particularly in both its general political meaning and the literal meaning, "to save."
Reason: Although there are some things that aren't worth preserving-segregation laws, things like that.