*The Reverend Jesse Jackson has been at the forefront of the civil rights movement for over 50 years.
Well, kinda. He stood next to MLK as he was gunned down in 1968, having been one of his closest advisers and mentees. Twenty years later, Jackson vied for the Democratic presidential nomination, helping to lay the groundwork for President Obama’s successful bid twenty years after THAT.
But sometimes, Jackson seems to kinda hang out at high profile events, raising the ire of black and white folks alike. He has been openly critical of President Obama, and was once caught on a live mic making crude comments about him.
We want to know what YOU think of the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Don’t let people.com’s readers speak for you! Here’s the background:
Jackson, 75, attended the Women’s March on Washington last weekend. He says he did so because he’s concerned that hard-fought civil rights gains are being threatened by President Trump.
“50 years of civil rights have been threatened,” Jackson said. The right to vote is threatened. Trump’s first act is to attempt to stop healthcare for 30 million poor people and the thousands of workers who service them.”
Overall, Jackson says he thinks that the thousands who participated in the Women’s March did so out of hope.
“My sense is that people here are not so much anti-Trump — they’re pro-American,” he said. “We’re not going back. Women aren’t going back to the back alley to make their health choices. We’re not going back to having our right to vote denied.”
Readers on people.com immediately jumped on the story and attacked the civil rights legend.
Tracy Thomas Rylee, who says she’s 45 and appears as white as the driven snow, says that “Jesse Jackson is always looking for a way to make himself relevant. He jumps in the spotlight whenever he gets a chance, that’s all he’s good for these days.”
Karen Carnes Booth says “…back in 1999 [Jackson] praised Trump for his dealings with minorities. Just another liberal hypocrite…”
Susie Smith adds that “Jesse [has] worked for 5 DECADES to keep blacks down, always stirring the racism pot because THAT is what makes [him] a fortune.” She goes on to say that Jackson is a “maggot” and “…a national disgrace.”
The Reverend Jesse Jackson: a “maggot” and “a national disgrace?”
Let me tell you what I think:
Anyone who marched for me in the 1960s and devoted their lives to the advancement of civil rights, be it Jackson or John Lewis or anyone else that Trump or any other one of a number of white people want to deem “irrelevant,” is in fact “relevant” and will be for the rest of my life, I remember voting for Jackson during the 1988 primaries, and dreaming that he might have been our first African American president.
While Jackson’s Rainbow / Push Coalition may have faded from view long ago, he’s a national treasure, not a “disgrace” or a “maggot.” Jackson, Lewis and others are VERY relevant today, especially for those of us who are younger than they are and haven’t walked in their shoes, during a civil rights march or otherwise.
If you’re one of many who’s benefitted by the work that Jackson, Lewis and others have done, lay off of the keyboard and be quiet if you’ve nothing respectful to say about a civil rights legend who was attending a protest march while you sat on your ass playing with your smartphone.
I have read People Magazine since Miss Piggy first appeared on the cover in 1979 —
— don’t front! You remember it! —
and that was back in the day when if you read something with which you disagreed, you had to sit down at your IBM Selectric typewriter
— don’t front! You remember it!! —
and craft a well thought out, well written response, in the hope of getting it published in the next issue. Nowadays, folks can read an article on their smartphone, hit “respond” while they’re driving down the street (don’t get me started on THAT!), and shoot off the first thing that pops into their crazy-assed heads, even when it unfairly insults a civil rights legend.
Whew. OK. Breathe, Mike, breathe!
Now that THAT’S off of my chest, what do YOU think? Hit “respond” and tell us! Jesse Jackson: “maggot” or “martyr”…and why? Let us know in the comments.
This blog was written by freelancer Michael P Coleman, who still sometimes misses his IBM Selectric and still dreams of a date with Miss Piggy. Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP.