A CNN piece published Monday heralded Martin Luther King Jr.'s views on issues beyond civil rights, including his support for democratic socialism.
CNN's John Blake wrote about "Three ways MLK speaks to our time," published as a straight news article rather than an opinion piece. Blake wrote that on the holiday honoring his legacy, King's commitment to socialism, role as an "environmental hero," and congeniality towards his opponents ought to be considered alongside his racial advocacy.
"If you're more familiar with your smartphone than your history, try this: Think of King not just as a civil rights hero, but also as an app — his legacy has to be updated to remain relevant," Blake wrote.
King, he wrote, was "an environmental hero," despite never actually speaking out on the need for environmental protection. Instead, modern environmentalists maintain King "planted the seeds" for the movement by speaking broadly about "the interconnectedness of life."
Likewise, Blake writes King "was a socialist before it was cool."
"There was a time in American politics when calling someone a socialist was a slur. Not anymore, at least for many younger Americans who are developing a distrust of capitalism," Blake wrote.
"One of the most popular politicians in recent times is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist who almost captured the Democratic nomination for president. A 2016 Harvard University poll said 51% of young Americans — 18- to-29-year-olds — oppose capitalism," he continued.
In a tweet a few days before penning the piece, Blake also indicated that he didn't believe socialism was to blame for Venezuela's economic collapse.
I'm not sure a lot of people would link what's happening to Venezuela to socialism; in fact everything I've read and talking to people from there attributes there collapse to other problems. https://t.co/BfgiKWBoYz
— John K. Blake (@JohnBlakeCNN) January 15, 2018
Blake concludes by contrasting King's optimistic view of the future with "a leader in the White House who denies widespread reports that he complained about Latino and African immigrants coming to America from ‘shithole' countries."