Yes, I understand that Barack Obama has eviscerated Jesse Jackson's racket. Whether he becomes president or not, and he will become president. Obama has also eviscerated Al Sharpton's racket. And that of the other African American parasites who know how to make a speech. This is now serious time for blacks in the United States because there will sit in the White House and increasingly in Congress people who, however cosmopolitan, are also from and of their world, people who are not cynical about it but will bring the best will and the best attention to its problems.
The problems are gargantuan, and they have not become smaller just because the country is now worried about whether its bankers need to earn two million dollars a year or whether one million dollars will do. The problems are also multiple. Every serious citizen and certainly every serious black citizen (and Hispanic citizen, too) has an issue on which he would want the public and the public till to focus.
I have mine: I believe that the transformatory demographic absent in the minority world is a solid layer of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer experts. There are only two or three handfuls above none among African Americans who fit this characterization. OK, I'm exaggerating: there are five or six. A paltry number when what is required (for the United States and for blacks) is a vast cohort of such men women trained in the various sciences, abstract and concrete, so that new world not be closed to these citizens and that the upward mobility that flows from these disciplines also be open to them and the coming generations. I've been pushing this idea for more than 40 years with only a bit of success. Maybe I will try to push it on Barack Obama.
It is not something that ever interested Jesse Jackson, for sure not. But what would he ever have done with it? Perhaps mention it in a speech--that is after all his vocation, a paid speechmaker--maybe in the French lakeside village of Evian where he was last week. Doing what? Delivering a speech, of course. The very reliable Amir Taheri, the author of The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution, has written a column which I saw in today's New York Post. So what did Jackson say to his international audience? That Zionist time was up. The justice has not been given to the Palestinians, as if this were a one-way exchange and the only acceptable compromise was for Israel to give up all. And then the usual clap-trap of the demagogues: "Zionists...have controlled American policy for decades." The most important change would occur in the Middle East where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end. So now Jackson is a foreign policy realist, like that odd couple, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. It's too bad that both Obama and Biden have declared themselves Zionists.
Jackson apparently considers himself "family" to Obama, although there is nothing in either of the candidate's autobiographies to suggest that. Still, there is on the record that offhand remark of Jackson's about smashing Obama's gonads. So maybe he does think of himself as a father of sorts, a very envious father who...well, you can parse out the testicles metaphor yourself.
What is certain is that Obama was never in Jackson's shadow and never under Jackson's tent. Obama is too savvy for that...and too careful with the meaning of words to allow himself to be submerged in Jackson's demagoguery.
As it happens, Jackson was not for Obama during the primaries. It was his son--also a very different personage from good ol' dad--who endorsed Obama and worked for him. So what do we make of Jesse trying the game of the putting on of hands? In his heart of hearts, I think he wants to destroy the candidate.
As I think Bill Clinton also does.