Every time there is an incident involving alleged white-on-black violence we can predict the public appearance of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. It is as predictable as the appearance of Gloria Allred when an allegedly abused woman pops up in the news…
In light of the nationwide response to the Treyvon Martin verdict, it seems to a fitting time to recall the Clinton-era adage used so famously by Rahm Emanual, Senior Advisor to the president, and currently serving as mayor of Chicago.
It was originally attributed to Winston Churchill. And what of it?
Civil Rights leaders are responding exactly as they do; supporting the disenfranchised and bringing the nation’s attention to the victims. We regard these as the people who uphold freedom for all and a nation of equality, right? Aren’t they the people who bring justice to the aggrieved?
Maybe. But racism and bigotry are big business. And these so-called Civil Rights leaders are winning big.
The American Cancer Society would go out of business if we were to find a cure for cancer. So too, would such civil rights leaders go out of business if we did not continue to find bigotry and racism in every nook and cranny.
It can be argued that, in a nation that is predominately run by old white men, the United States has turned a corner by nominating black, Latino and female candidates to the Presidency. Ultimately, a black man, President Barak Obama, was elected to the highest office in the land, and arguably the most important and powerful office in history.
Which also begs the question, are we a racist nation? Would that happen in Mexico? Japan? Sweden? Argentina? England? Anywhere else? It is highly unlikely.
Racism is one of the signature issues of the Left, following the Civil Rights Act of 1964, banning discrimination and racial separation and ensuring equal opportunity under Democratic President John F. Kennedy.
And as for these civil rights organizations, what kind of money are we talking about? Its hard to say.
Now, let’s look at the Reverend Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Push Coalition and the Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. Both of these men have called for nation-wide rallies on behalf of Treyvon Martin.
Treyvon (or Trayvon) Martin is prominently featured on both of their websites with righteous indignation and calls to action. Both men have used this cause to take advantage of the national spotlight. Donation buttons are being pushed.
As for the annual salary each man commands, both are paid through “religious” organizations, meaning they are not subject to scrutiny or oversight. Discovering how much each organization rakes in from donations or the actual net worth of each organization is also a secret. Neither organization has been audited. Quite frankly, who would dare audit them?
But the history of the Democratic party is not so linear. Republican president Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring the freedom of all slaves in the Union. This Executive Order is arguably the most courageous presidential act in the history of the United States.
Yet – it was the Southern Democrats who created the Jim Crow laws to deny rights of citizenship to freedmen for generations to come. In practice, blacks were thus treated with the subtle hatred of bigotry that permeated the south following the loss of the Civil War and the dominance of the Union. In order to preserve that white supremacy, Jim Crow laws, which alleged “separate but equal” treatment for blacks, actually ensured that blacks had separate facilities and poor quality in every area of life. They were denied access to loans, education, bathrooms – everything. And they denied blacks the right to vote by imposing unreasonable and impossible restrictions on them.
(Recently, the Supreme Court lifted some of the oversight that had been put in place to ensure that blacks had equal access to ballots, a law that has been misused to allow anyone the right to vote, including felons and non-citizens, and even, some allege, the dead. And Attorney General Eric Holder is ignoring the Supreme Court ruling and going after states that have voter identification requirements. )
After generations of Southerners had held slaves the culture itself worked like apartheid. Legal requirements be damned; blacks held no power, had no access to the law or courts, could not speak for themselves and had no one to speak for them. It was the planter aristocracy who were the Southern Democrats that made those Jim Crow laws, to keep themselves in the dominant power and to ensure that no blacks could participate in the democratic process. The National Democratic party did nothing; their silence endorsing the wicked motives and cowardly actions of Southern whites.
It is only since the second half of the Twentieth Century that Democrats have been associated with civil liberties. And now, oddly, it can be said that they “own” it!
But that is not because they have they have been the keepers of the faith… Far from it! It is because they have used it to their advantage, as the lens through which they see their opponents, as the method of divide-and-conquer rule that has garnered together a coalition of odd bedfellows to win elections. They have used racism and bigotry as a tool for compiling billions of dollars in support for their legislators, politicians and organizations that wave this banner.
Who can blame them? They surged through the sixties, taking advantage of the Vietnam War and burgeoning women’s movement to create a new niche and cobble that coalition of disenfranchised together.
It would be unbalanced if I did not point out that the same is true of the right.
They have made millions recently on the IRS scandals that have rocked the current administration. Conservatives and Tea Party groups have taken to defending their rights to a fair and balanced tax system that allows them the same rights and privileges that the Rainbow Push Coalition has. The same can be said of support for gun ownership and the Second Amendment, pro-life groups and small business advocacy, for example. These organizations that sprang up in the wake of Reagan’s legacy to defend conservative causes only blossomed from the liberal push of the Clinton White House. Through the 90′s and to the present many of these organizations that were once fledging ideas have become institutionalized, including Fox News, the Heritage Foundation and Townhall, to name a few.
Every scandal draws its supporters and my purpose is to point out that it behooves us to be discerning in how we process these scandals. In fact, do these organizations prolong the problem to generate funding and grow their organizations, or do they help solve the problem? I think it is the former.
How does it help to rally against the verdict in the Zimmerman case? Has justice really been denied? Is it really valid to use public opinion to force a second trial for Mr. Zimmerman, possibly a Double Jeopardy case? Should that happen, won’t it set a precedent for this to happen again? Isn’t this how we get into trouble?
Perhaps it is a matter for each individual to examine their role in the national conscience and determine for him self or her self a path to defy injustice, thus bypassing these huge organizations that depend on conflict to support their business. At least on some level, we citizens should be responsible enough to avoid contributing to the problem by contributing to these organizations.
Like the American Cancer Society they are hard pressed to insure that these issues remain on the table to keep the money flowing in their direction. As long as there is a dime to be made from Treyvon Martin’s tragic death it will remain on the front page of the Rainbow Push Coalition and the National Action Network websites.
The difference is this: at least there is work being done on cancer research and treatment. Money is being spent to help defray medical costs. Something helpful is happening. But when the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons ignite the racist flame all the gains we have made in racial bias and prejudice seem to be lost. Often, the damage that is done from these rallies can ruin a neighborhood for decades, as in the case of the LA riots in 1992. Once again, we are “a house divided.”
In 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream.” He said, “A man should not be judged by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.”
King dreamed of a colorblind society. Instead of creating a world where we judge our fellows by the content of their character, we have Balkanized into a fractious nation of colors, sexes, ethnicities and socio-economic differences. We are judged and we judge. In the wake of the Martin verdict, when a nation should sigh at the decision of a jury of its peers, we are incited.