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Jesse Jackson's irrelevance

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Wide White: Jesse Jackson's irrelevance

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jesse Jackson's irrelevance

Why is Jesse Jackson relevant to the modern political discussion?

A story broke today that Jackson used the N-word during a break on Fox News when he said Barack was telling them "how to behave."

But I have to wonder, why does it matter? Why does he matter?

Here's a brief summary of Jackson's positions of relevance:

1. Civil rights leader with MLKJ with the SCLC
2. Formed and led Operation PUSH and the Rainbow Coalition (now the Rainbow PUSH Coalition).
3. 1984 & 1988 Democratic presidential candidate
4. "Shadow senator" from Washington, D.C., 1991 - 1997

These are certainly positions that would give someone the authority to be listened to and respected, regardless of their opinion. But other than these positions - none of which he currently holds - he is simply an activist and orator. Wikipedia lists his occupation as "American civil rights activist" and "minister".

Here's a brief summary of problems with Jackson:

1. Has complained about racial discrimination in football (not getting the starting QB position) and academics in college causing him to transfer, despite the fact that the starting QB was black and he transferred when he was put on academic probation.
2. Has used derogative terms referring to Jews and Jewish issues.
3. Extra-marital affair uncovered in 2001.
4. His recent Fox News off-camera comments, with some extremely derogative language towards Barack Obama (including these comments).

So, what's my point?

My point is, why do we still care? Why is the media so fixed on these events? When Don Imus used his infamous derogative term in reference to the Rutgers women's basketball team, people demanded his resignation (and got it). Once he was fired, the news story ceased to be much of a story. When Sen. Larry Craig's Minneapolis conviction on charges of soliciting sex came to light, it was a huge news story until he announced he wasn't running for office again.

The difference with these men (and countless others) is that they had positions for which they were held to a higher standard. As soon as they were stripped of that position, the controversy went away because the position that gave them credibility in the first place had been removed.

But what about Jackson? What position can be removed from him to satisfy those who are upset about his comments? If those comments had been uttered by Pat Robertson, Jackson would be calling for his resignation and demanding that John McCain denounce Robertson's endorsement.

But Robertson didn't make the comments, and Jackson continues to support Obama with no contention from the media or anyone else (can't Al Sharpton speak up?). No one has demanded that Obama denounce Jackson's endorsement. Jackson can apologize and move on with no accountability from anyone.

I'm ready for Jackson to cease to be a person American continues to listen to. And I'm ready for the media to stop giving him the attention he craves.


Blogger Jim B. declared,


I've always found Jackson and Sharpton's omnipresence baffling.

7/23/2008 6:29 AM  

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