New Visions Commentary
The National Leadership Network of Conservative African-Americans
The Decline and Fall of Jesse Jackson
By Kevin Martin
At one time or another, most of us have had a roach problem in our home. We know that when we turn on the lights the roaches scatter. That's exactly how liberals have acted since the Reverend Jesse Jackson disgraced himself. They are running to get as far from him as possible.
Not to make light of a man's personal destruction, but this is a comical situation. In the days before the 2000 election, those who now shun Jackson could not get enough of him and his rallying cry to "stay out of the bushes." Jackson and those like him in the black community have always been reliable to get out the black vote for liberal candidates and issues.
In 1998, Jackson and company sought to influence the mid-term elections with allegations that not voting Democrat would lead to blacks getting shot or a church burning or more lynchings. In all his ranting, however, Jackson never named what parties and politicians would be responsible for these actions.
In the year-and-a-half leading up to the 2000 election, Jackson continued to struggle to stir up the masses - but his star power was in question. Nowhere was this more evident than his defense of riotous high schoolers who terrorized innocent fans at a football game in Decatur, Illinois. Then came his premature call for a federal investigation into the hanging death of a young black man in Mississippi that was later ruled a suicide.
After the election, Jackson found himself in the limelight for fathering a child with a long-time mistress. The cover-up and potential payoff of the mistress with money either donated or from taxpayer-funded projects may yet lead to an IRS audit. He's hiding behind the claim that this is all a vast right-wing conspiracy to destroy him and his work.
Well, Jesse, here is a bit of free advice. You should stop blaming those on the right and blame yourself and those you call your friends on the left. Yes, I did say you and the left!
I think the liberals are tired and scared of Jesse Jackson because he turns off middle-class and upper middle-class white Midwestern voters, union voters and even some black voters. The key to winning back the House, Senate, and White House lies with these groups, and the liberals know it. I figure they didn't want to put up with Jackson and others screaming for more of the political pie after Jackson and his allies helped turn out 90% of the black vote for Al Gore in 2000. They sought to get rid of the "Jesse problem" quickly and permanently. Since the liberals already failed to reward black America by not nominating a veteran black politician for vice president - or even to head the Democratic National Committee when Maynard Jackson ran in 2001 - they are probably not excited about entertaining the inevitable criticism of these steps.
Jackson probably never saw it coming. But how long could he expect his supposed friends to sit on the fact that he had a child out of wedlock? I wonder why Bill Clinton posed for a picture with Jackson and his mistress at the White House. The National Enquirer, the same supermarket tabloid that painted Clinton mistress Monica Lewinsky as a stalker, was the first to break the story. The hush money story created a feeding frenzy for those who sought to finally get even with Jackson after years of bullying, threats, boycotts and protests. Rumor has it that "60 Minutes" is now preparing a hit piece on Jackson's appointment as special envoy to Africa under Clinton.
Jesse Jackson is now finding himself scratched off liberals schedules. Those so willing to appear with him before the election are no longer calling. When Senator Hillary Clinton recently snubbed him, it was blamed on a scheduling error. I, however, think there may be a "left-wing conspiracy" at work.
What about when Jackson offered to help the Bush White House settle the recent dispute with China? Secretary of State Colin Powell turned down Jackson's offer - as he should have. Supporters of Jackson say it was Jackson doing what he does best, but others - like me - see it as a disgraced man trying to rebuild his legacy. Unlike Clinton, however, Jackson does not have a bully pulpit or group of rich white liberals with the media influence and money to defend him anymore.
I wonder if Al Sharpton, Kweisi Mfume, feminist Patricia Ireland and all the rest of the steadfastly liberal crowd understand what happened to Jesse Jackson? Do they muse to themselves, wondering which one of them will be the next to be thrown from the train if they don't stay in their place and not to get too uppity?
One only has to wonder why we did not see Jackson recently
in Cincinnati, leading the protests after a police officer shot
an unarmed black man. If you look hard enough, you will find Jackson
face down next to the tracks. There's the answer to your question!
(Kevin Martin is a member of the Project 21 National Advisory
Council and frequent political commentator on WOLB radio in Baltimore,
Maryland. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.
Search this site.