Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jesse Jackson's big fat mouth

There was a time when the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke, people listened. Despite his many faults many saw him, alongside the Rev. Billy Graham, as one of America's moral leaders. But as time has changed and moved, it seems that Jackson has stood still. This past weekend during a taping of an interview with Fox News, Jackson actually said on a "hot" mike: "See, Barack's been talking down to black people ... I want to cut his nuts off."

When confronted with the smoking gun, Jackson was forced to apologize. Even his son, Jesse Jackson Jr. said such comments were out of line. The fact they were made shows a total disconect between a large swath of the leadership in the black community, and the reality on the ground.

Obama's campaign accepted the apology but refused to back down on the main point at hand. Bill Burton said:

As someone who grew up without a father in the home, Senator Obama has spoken and written for many years about the issue of parental responsibility, including the importance of fathers participating in their children's lives. He also discusses our responsibility as a society to provide jobs, justice, and opportunity for all. He will continue to speak out about our responsibilities to ourselves and each other, and he of course accepts Reverend Jackson's apology.

The great civil rights leaders, such as Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr., and James Meredith didn't fight for equal rights so their people could be slackers. They fought for equal opportunities to lift their people up but also insisted that blacks comply with the same general ethical standards of hard work and family values as everyone else and to act appropriately in general. For example, when both whites and blacks defiantly sat together at segregated lunch counters, Dr. King said that the protestors should be dressed as if working in a business office so as to better underscore their point about equal service. Does anyone think they would have won if they instead had shown up in halter tops and half broken t-shirts, short shorts and flip flops?

Right. No one would have taken them seriously.

What Barack Obama, as well as Bill Cosby and other enlightened people have been talking about, is assuming responsibility. They're insisting, correctly, that a lot of the social problems facing their community are self-inflicted. It's important to talk about how to fix the economy and to address the remaining remnants of racism, of course; but to blame the economy for all black people's woes is just as silly as the white majority blaming violence and drugs on television for an alleged increase in such problems in the real world. After all, other countries have disaffected youth and family breakdowns and no one blames television there for an increase in adultery.

It really does start with the home. Parents instilling values instead of letting television do that. Parents living up to their responsibilities as parents whether they are married, divorced or single. Teachers, ministers, physicians acting as early warning systems to flag potential trouble spots. And, Bill Cosby is absolutely right about this, an insistence people use proper language and spelling rather than "ebonics" or other forms of slang.

I really don't know what possessed Jackson to say what he did. Maybe it's latent resentment that one of the finalists for US President this fall succeeded in the self-reliance mode of Malcolm X and not the world view of Martin Luther King that Jackson has sadly misrepresented, then turns around and "acts white."

As Obama said, "[W]hat makes you a man is not the ability to have a child -- it's the courage to raise one." It's important to fight for social justice and equal opportunities, but it's also important to fight for strong families. Neither can exist while the other is lacking. As for Obama's "acting white" -- I haven't seen too many whites acting white lately; especially not George W. Bush.

Rev. Jackson would be well advised to demanding responsiblity from his followers -- especially after he himself was caught having an affair, during the time he was advising Bill Clinton after Slick admitted he cheated. Some role models, eh? At least Jackson's kids were all grown up by that time, but Chelsea Clinton was still a teenager and was as humiliated as her mother was by the scandal. At least she turned out okay. A lot of kids from households that have been so contaminated don't. Obama should continue to stay the course and stand up for families.

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Johnathon said...

I wonder when you’re going to make a blog post about wanting a public inquiry as to why Chretien and Martin knew about Khadr’s torture, yet did nothing.

This from the party of human rights.

When are you going to demand a public inquiry as to why Chretien and Martin allowed Omar Khadr to be tortured?

BlastFurnace said...

Should Chrétien and Martin be held accountable for what happened to Omar Khadr? Absolutely. Is it going to happen? Not likely, given cabinet secrecy rules. You make it sound as if rank-and-file Liberals are happy about what happened to Khadr. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Johnathon said...

"Should Chrétien and Martin be held accountable for what happened to Omar Khadr? Absolutely. Is it going to happen? Not likely, given cabinet secrecy rules."

Well if I understand it correctly, a full public inquiry would FORCE the liberals to testify.

I emailed the justice department as well as Harper demanding a full 100 million dollar public inquiry about this issue.

BlastFurnace said...

Two words: Somalia Inquiry. When they were getting too close to the truth about what Mulroney and Campbell knew, Chrétien shut it down to protect "the club." Still a black mark as far as I'm concerned.

Although there is no love lost between Harper and the Liberal PMs, in the end I think there will be a closing of ranks here as well. That doesn't make me happy, I can assure you.