Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are so over
Quiet as it’s kept, the era of the “militant” black leader is over. Despite the fearmongering on Drudge and elsewhere, there are no black leaders calling for insurrection.
Civil rights movements have often sought out figureheads with unblemished pasts. The Montgomery bus boycott would have started nine months earlier if Claudette Colvin, who refused to yield her seat to a white person, just as Rosa Parks was to do, had not turned out to be pregnant out of wedlock. Forty-two years later, similar sentiments led legal strategists for gay rights to downplay the fact that John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, of the Lawrence v.
It was 1988 presidential primary time in New York, and I was on the press bus going from Manhattan to Boro Park in Brooklyn where Al Gore was scheduled to meet Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, the Bobover Rebbe, the Grand Rabbi of Bobov, Poland. Of course, there are no Jews in Bobov—and hardly any in Poland. But, despite the fact that the Lubavitcher and Satmar Hassidim are the most well-known sects (and the latter notorious, too), the Bobover are the largest Jewish faction in New York.
Ah, Iowa. I arrive in Des Moines late this evening, pull into the Best Western that I selected partly because Newt Gingrich is supposed to be at an event in the motel in the morning, and who do I see lounging in the lobby but Jesse Jackson. Gingrich, Jackson -- who's next, Gary Hart? The Reverend, it turns out, is in town to speak to the local Occupy group that has been making its presence felt at campaign offices and events.
For years, Ron Paul published a series of newsletters that dispensed political news and investment advice, but also routinely indulged in bigotry. Here's a selection of some especially inflammatory passages, with links to scanned images of the original documents in which they appeared. Race “A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” analyzes the Los Angeles riots of 1992: “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. ... What if the checks had never arrived?
There was a time, not long ago, when the dominant arbiters of public opinion relegated Al Sharpton to the outskirts of serious, respectable discussion. Sure, he was a fixture on the Ebony magazine list of the 100 “top” black Americans. Sure, journalists called him when they needed a provocative quip. Sure, Democratic Party politicians courted him. But “the Rev” was unmistakably relegated to the black ghetto of celebrity activism. No one thought to ask his opinion regarding issues other than those perceived as directly pertinent to aggrieved blacks.
Jesse Jackson has never interested me much. I’m a little late out of the gate in commenting about Jackson’s latest diversion, analogizing LeBron James to a runaway slave in light of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s sputtering about James’ departure to Miami. I’ve always been a little laggard in dogpiling on Jesse. When I first started writing about race, I quickly noted a certain cognitive dissonance: everybody expected the new cranky black “conservative” to have a Jesse obsession. I never did, and don’t now. He shouldn’t be news, really.
The most important macro-development of the last thirty years of American politics is that organized conservatism, once an opposition movement that existed mostly outside of mainstream politics, captured the Republican Party in toto. The interesting micro development of the last two years is that the party is starting to be infiltrated by figures who come out of smaller and even more ideologically radical subcultures -- candidates like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle.
Marc Ambinder says the news media should be ashamed for chasing the Sestak pseudo-scandal: I will grant that the statutes themselves can be interpreted in such a way as to prohibit virtually all political activity by anyone remotely connected with the executive branch. But practice -- and not simply underhanded practice, but open, above-board practice, since the time those laws were written suggests that the law's authors intended them as a bulwark against official corruption, not against the mixing of politics and policy.