You’ve gotta feel sorry for Jesse Jackson, his time is so far gone people don’t even remember when his time was. He reminds me of Willie Mays playing for the Mets in 1973. The best all-round baseball player ever (and he still is) looking well, mediocre at best, an all-time-great who hung around one season too long.
Jackson is a civil rights leader desperately looking for a following to reclaim the good old days, but in his feebleness he lives in yesterday and doesn’t quite “get” today.
Over the weekend this shell of a leader went help the Occupy Atlanta protest and explained his presence by slandering his friend and mentor, (and the man whose dying blood he smeared all over his sweater) the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
About 60 people gathered around Jackson as he told them their movement was an extension of the last movement organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Poor People’s Movement.
“It’s not the size of the crowd, it’s the substance of the discussion,” that is important, he told them.
In an interview, Jackson said the protesters were voicing dissatisfaction with banks, with government policies that favor the rich, with Washington gridlock and lack of action to help average Americans.
“This is the cup running over,” he said. “People can’t take it anymore.”
A extension of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,???
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”– Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., August 28, 1963
Dr. King would reject a movement that had to set up guarded tents for women because there were too many rapes going on, or had members who pushed a cop in front of a bus, or ones whose participants were arrested for selling crack or marched into a McDonalds demanding free food. King was a Preacher, a man of God and would have never accepted the lawlessness of the Occupy protests.
King would have never stood by the Occupy claim that America’s business leaders are the source of their problems. He preached personal responsibility:
And so the challenge which confronts all of us is to respond to our circumstances with strength and courage rather than with weakness and despair Who in all history canserve as a better example for us at this point than our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
There was nothing so comfortable and advantageous about His environmental and hereditary circumstances He was born in a stable and raised on a carpenter’s bench His mother and father were not members of the upper crust of Jewish society They did not enjoy the power of the aristocrat Pharisee or the prestige of the cosmopolitan Sadducee Jesus was born in plain unpretentious circumstances.
But Jesus had within himself a power of personal response which was destined to transform his circumstances This same Jesus who was born in an ox stable, rose up to be the strongest and tallest oak in the great forest of history This same Jesus, rose from a carpenter’s bench to gve impetus to a movement which has grown from a group of 12 men to more than 700,000,000 today This same Jesus split history into A.D. and B.C. This same Jesus so concerned men that His message is eternal and universal that they have triumphantly sung Jesus shall reign where ere the sun, Does his successive journeys run, His kingdom spread from shore to shore, Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
Not environment, not heredity, but personal response is the final determining factor in our lives. And herein lies our area of responsibility.
-Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, sermon in Atlanta July 26, 1953
Reverend King would have never stood for the Antisemitism coming out of the Occupy Wall Street camps. When Dr. King marched, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (on the left in the picture below), was next to him, along with others, like Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath (carrying the Torah) who were not Black but because they too were clergy who believed that all men should be treated and judged equally:
Heschel, a Polish immigrant, scion of a long line of Chasidic rabbis, Professor of Jewish Ethics and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and King, an American descendant of slaves, a compassionate protector of the oppressed, charismatic orator, writer and theologian, marched side-by- side from Selma to Montgomery to protest the pernicious racism that poisoned America and humiliated its African-American citizens.
When Jesse Jackson told Occupy Atlanta that the Occupy protests were an extension of Dr. King’s work he was not only wrong, but he was slandering the memory of a great man of God, whose teachings were opposite of those espoused by the protesters occupying sites across the country.