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This glimpse of Jesse Jackson holding up a "Forward" sign at Barack Obama's acceptance of the 2012 Democratic Party presidential nomination is one of the saddest things I've ever seen. Jackson looks like an old owl on a tree branch in the teeth of a Chicago winter. The image has haunted me because Jackson would have to hire Captain Kirk to help him cover the distance between where he is now and where he could have been--and where, perhaps, he should be.

Just like Andy Griffith's iconic Lonesome Rhodes in Elia Kazan's A Face In The Crowd, Jackson stands there undone by shooting off his mouth into a microphone that he didn't think was on. And, as it was in the movie, the microphone was left on by someone Jackson trusted... Fox News, in his case:

Jesse Jackson was preparing his 1988 Democratic National Committee nomination speech when Barack Obama was still wandering around Africa in search of his roots. Obama would apply for the presidency of the Harvard Law Review and meet Michelle Robinson during a Chicago law internship before that year was out.

No one expected Jackson to place second to Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis for that nomination but Jackson led a committed, organized cadre of partisans to the convention. Jackson was pungently dismissive of the turnout at that year's campaign appearance in our little Northern California hamlet of East Palo Alto ("a bunch of n***s and some kids"); I had problems with him as a candidate, but I still contributed a "JJ '88" rap parody to the tune of Run DMC's You Be Illin' for performance during Jackson's convention party in Atlanta.

Jackson lost much of my support with a gaffe he committed during the 1984 presidential race when he referred to New York as "Hymietown." I can not--to this day--wrap my mind around racialist comments from somebody who stood at the elbow of Dr. King. I expect more of Reverend Jackson. Martin Luther King Jr. was no saint, but he was the standard-bearer of a cause. Bigoted comments from someone supposedly committed to brotherhood aren't just wrong; they're stupid. Jackson tossed away any credibility or sympathy he gained through enduring the trauma of seeing The Dreamer die in his presence. Personal accounts of an arrogant, self-interested opportunist only confirmed my disappointment.

Still, Jackson pressed on. He spoke out against injustice. He championed affirmative action and other causes. Jackson shepherded his namesake son through a career in Chicago politics.

And here we are today...

Jackson's son--a U.S. representative--struggles with bipolar depression. Jackson's daughter works as a contributor to the very network that threw her father under the bus. Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH organization plays a reduced role in social justice circles. Instead of enjoying his status as a civil rights eminence gris and instead of basking in the warmth of the advisory role he might have had as a former force in Chicago politics, Jackson joins the chorus.

The man who made "I am somebody" famous now "used to be somebody." Jackson stands alone on the convention floor holding a "Forward" placard, a groundling at the Big Show rather than a part of the brain trust calling the shots.

Jesse Jackson may be just another face in the crowd at President Barack Obama's pitch for a second term, but he is there. One way or another, Jesse Jackson always finds his way to the light.

Originally posted to MacDaffy on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 04:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you so very much for this diary. I remember (43+ / 0-)

    seeing him cry in the crowd the night Obama won.  Then I saw him again, alone on the convention floor looking so sad.  I didn't know the story behind it.  So sad that he has fallen so far.  My Mom's expression 'Lord make my words sweet and soft today for tomorrow I may have to eat them'.

    •  For me, it wasn't that he just looked sad... (0+ / 0-)

      He looked small. He looked like a man defeated. Like an old warrior, now forgotten, watching the young competitor on the field where he once played.

      And that made me sad.

      "Mitt Romney isn't a vulture capitalist: vultures only eat things that are dead." -S. Colbert

      by newinfluence on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 12:49:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Truly a tragic figure. (15+ / 0-)

    But like Lonesome Rhodes, the guy was an outsized talent in his younger days.  Back then, he had to grab the spotlight.  And he commanded it when he did.

    In a way, it's a measure of our progress that we don't see him the way we used to.

  •  There Was Such a Tiny Pool of Black Politicians (17+ / 0-)

    during his prime years, it meant that several of them could become prominent in politics but just might not have the combination of ingredients to make it all the way to the top.

    It's the same problem liberals now have in broadcasting. There's very little farm team for developing, and almost no openings in the big leagues.

    I always thought Jackson was a good man and a good leader for many purposes, just not for President.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 04:41:11 PM PDT

  •  It was sad (25+ / 0-)

    to see him ... I still have a tee shirt from the Rainbow Coalition.

    In any movement, you have people like John Lewis and people like Andrew Young and you have people like Jesse Jackson. In Jackson's case, I think that he forgot his roots and he forgot that he was the servant to the movement, not the master and he lost his way. It did not look to me (and this is strictly my supposition) that he has yet redeemed his life, he is still living in the "I could've been a contender" mode instead of becoming an elder who can rejoice that the dream is coming true.

    I'm a preacher, so my image is of Moses not being able to go into the Promised Land, standing on the edge watching the people go into a future that he dreamed about but cannot enter. We all have choices when we get to that point ... and I think that was the theme of this convention: Do we make our work in this community into a future, or do we say "I got mine, you keep your hands off."

    "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

    by CorinaR on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 04:51:10 PM PDT

    •  You put it so very well. I am still always (6+ / 0-)

      saddened about him.

    •  But Jackson did make it to the Promised Land (7+ / 0-)

       He lived to see an African-American elected President!
       He lived to see his own son win elections ..

       There is a possibility that Jackson looked sad because he has that same son is having difficulties right now that might end his career ... or maybe he looked sad because he was remembering those that didn't get to walk (or vote) in the Promised Land ...

       I will admit that was an incredibly horrible slur regarding Hymietown ....what is so sad is that is was the Jews that provided money and education to help the Civil Rights cause .. Thurgood Marshall worked with Jewish lawyers...
      it is sad to see two groups that fought together so hard for justice  now be so far apart

      Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

      by moonbatlulu on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 10:45:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No ... not as the leader, (5+ / 0-)

        he can only stand and applaud. Passing on to be the elder is not always a gracious process.  Clinton seems to be doing it well.

        For me, as an older person, it was wonderful to see the younger people having such a huge part of the convention ... the Dreamers, the ones just running for congress, the kids and babies learning the political process.  Every time the camera panned to Jesse Jackson, he was alone and looked unhappy or befuddled.

        But that is simply my take ... from afar and with no specific knowledge of what he is doing and lots of memories of who he used to be.

        "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

        by CorinaR on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 07:36:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It was not just race that got him into (4+ / 0-)

        trouble - it was his attitude towards women. I worked on the 84 campaign, and when the DC advance people came to our state, we were "warned" to make sure that young women were not "allowed" to hang out too close to him.  It was not just that he fooled around that got to me -- but to my way of thinking, the fact that his aids had to keep women away from him showed there was a misogynistic streak in him, and to be honest, I wasn't terribly surprised regarding his hymietown comment which came later.  I still supported him in that campaign and later worked for the Rainbow coalition when I moved to DC.  But the whole thing is beyond sad -- and is hard for me to think about.  

  •  During one presidential election (14+ / 0-)

    my Dad caucused for Jackson in Iowa; I don't remember what year that was. They were all white folks in that town but enough Jackson admirers to put together a delegate to the state convention.

    At the time I didn't think of Jackson as 'presidential' myself, but he did seem like a driving force, an important voice, someone who was making a difference in our history.

    I saw him on the PBS coverage of the convention and he did look so sad. I wish they'd interviewed him at least!

    I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

    by sillia on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 04:53:50 PM PDT

  •  He can still hold his head up (44+ / 0-)

    There's an edge to Jesse Jackson for sure - he reminds me a little of Joe Biden.  They both seem like working class guys from the 1970's. Biden shoots his mouth off too, saying stupid things like how clean and articulate Barack Obama is.  Then he apologizes.  And as time goes on, I feel more affection for both of them rather than less.  There's a big generational and attitudinal difference between Jackson and Obama.

    I'm from Chicago and this generational and attitudinal difference encompasses more Chicago politicians than just Jesse Jackson.  Some felt that Barack Obama hadn't paid his dues, hadn't come from the same crucible that created Jesse Jackson and Bobby Rush and Danny Davis in Chicago politics.  Or even Harold Washington.  This young skinny kid thinks he can run for Congress and diss his elders.  I can see how for some of them Barack Obama... and this will sound sort of Republican... how Obama came across as an outsider, a foreigner, who took all that political capital they created and appropriated it for himself.  He rankled, and they didn't see the brilliance at least at first.  Bobby Rush called him an "educated fool from Harvard" and trounced Obama when he ran against him in 2000.  There was more than a little of that Oedipal thing going on in Chicago politics when Obama got his start, and Jesse surely felt it too.

    But there really is nobody remotely like Obama.  He is a little strange, a little different, hard to categorize. He's as ambitious as anyone on the planet, but he doesn't hold a grudge.  Look at his relations with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, who also ran against him.  The reason Jesse Jackson was in the audience holding a sign and not on that stage is not because Obama is contemptuous of Jackson, but because Jackson gives the image of a more racially contentious America, and Obama has spent his whole life embracing the civil rights movement while trying to be as non-racially antagonistic as possible.  Obama's fluid ease across the racial divide is both a tribute to Jesse Jackson's life work and yet another thing that probably irritates him.  I just hope that President Obama on that stage gives him a greater measure of satisfaction than sadness.  He's respected back in Chicago and he has his place in history.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 05:06:57 PM PDT

  •  Jackson '88 made Obama '08 possible. (23+ / 0-)

    Jackson did very well in IA in '88. Many party activists in '08 remembered and understood that a black man could run well in Iowa.  Winning Iowa did not win Obama the election, but it did show that his draw was appealing to (white) middle America.

  •  OK, I'm retired (16+ / 0-)

    Some of what is described here is what happens when a person retires.  I go back to the work site and so much is different.  John L. Lewis said after he retired, after leading his union for 40 years, "There is a fight going on, and I'm not in it."

    What if Al Gore showed up and sat in the audience?

    •  The thing that makes it sad... (7+ / 0-)

      Is that Jesse Jackson didn't just just burn the bridge between himself and Obama; he nuked it. This convention was marked by oratory. How sad is it to have one of its most capable technicians so completely on the sideline? How magnificent might it have been if Jackson could have lifted the country and his son from the DNC podium?

      >What if Al Gore showed up and sat in the audience?

      It'd be WAYYY less said than what he was doing.

      George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

      by MacDaffy on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 05:38:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How sad... (3+ / 0-)

    While beloved, I always thought of Jessie Jackson as slightly self-servicing. But how very sad to see him as just one of the faces in the crowd. Yet as always he is in the front! ha!  

    •  Hmm. I have little left for any of the (3+ / 0-)

      Jacksons. I was out of the country for most of Jessie's political rise and fall, but I live in Sandy Jackson's aldermanic district, and the view of this entire family from here is NOT favorable.

      As my spouse says (yes, I'm hiding behind my spouse to say it): The Jackson's have never done a gd thing for poor people unless there was something in it for them, whether cash payout or political perk.

      The sooner that whole family steps onto the sidelines to make room for a new generation of Black leaders who care more about their COMMUNITY than they care about their own careers, the better.

      •  Don't know how long you've been there (6+ / 0-)

        but Jesse, in the 70s, used to go around and speak at high school assemblies.  I remember a teacher friend of mine saying that the kids would walk around on a cloud for a week saying

        I am  somebody!
        Operation Breadbasket fed a lot of people, Jesse's efforts helped minorities break into union jobs working construction in public works.

        Now as every Chicagoan, I had a sort of "love-hate" thing going on, because Jesse would be, well, annoying.

        But when I saw him in the crowd the night of the election, with a tear trickling down his face, well, that set me to full-throated bawling.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 06:34:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I remember that scene. Jessie Jackson with.... (0+ / 0-)

          a tear running down his face. But my Aunt said, "Look. Look at him. He's peeping to see if the cameras are on him," and the whole family fell out laughing. It's true. Homeboy was just a face in the crowd that night as well and he mugging for the camera. Ha, ha!

          But I agree that Jackson has done some good in AA communities especially when it served his self-serving need to be "somebody." I have read on more than one occasion MLK didn't him because of it. Cheers.

  •  Shirley Chisolm made me finally pick a party (8+ / 0-)

    registration so I could vote in primary.  Just to prove that a QUALIFIED woman/black could indeed get votes and they should stop weeding out good leaders based on how prejudiced they ASSUMED we voters were.

    I wouldn't have voted for Jackson as I didn't think he was best qualified.   I chose to wait to finally get a qualified woman elected, sorry Hillary, because it only makes sense to vote for the best leader ------------- not based on color or sex or religion etc.

    I saw him walking thru the crowd to that seat, right up front, and thanked him mentally for making his run ---- because it was indeed a layer of paving for Obama's road.

    Each journey takes many steps.......

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 05:31:42 PM PDT

  •  Heartbreaking story & picture I had not known (4+ / 0-)

    about.

    I had the privilege of getting to know Mr. Hosea Williams during the mid 90's while doing clothing/food drives for his projects.  Like this story, it tore my heart whenever he made news for drinking etal.  

    Despite any foibles or failings of either man, I've admired & respected both as courageous & good human beings since the '60s.  Heroes of my youth, I cannot find it in me to judge them or think less of them; instead a sorrow & compassion stand alongside respect & admiration.

  •  He entered the arena late (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Granny, wwjjd, marykk

    and had an escort of several security figures.

    I recognized him immediately, as did the camera because it stayed on him.

    My initial thought was that he was going to do something- maybe he was late for a speech.

    But then he just sat down.

    He didn't look happy to be there at all.

    At the risk of saying what I abhor being said on cable news- What do I think he was thinking?

    That should have been me.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 05:40:40 PM PDT

  •  He is rejoicing in the fact the dream is coming (10+ / 0-)

    true. He's been at this for over 50 years and was responsible for my friend and I getting out of prison in Mississippi on trumped up charges. When no one else would step up. We all make mistakes, especially in a 50 year span. Rev Jackson and Rev Wright sacrificed themselves during the 2008 campaign, to distance themselves from Obama, because there were too many people in the middle and even some liberals not comfortable with either of them. Many people feared their more forceful approach. Do you think Rev Jackson wouldn't talk about race, a lot more than Obama? Well, that would have been the problem. That is the problem and I think that open mic was part of his plan to distance himself. Do you really know Rev Jackson?

    •  Thank you for your comment. (4+ / 0-)

      I think Reverend Jackson would much rather be at the center of the action rather than where he is. Another politician who said what he said might not even be able to get a plane ticket into Charlotte, much less be close enough to the president at the convention to be photographed.

      He has done a lot of good in his life and can do a lot more. I just think he should stick to private avenues.

      George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

      by MacDaffy on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 05:53:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of people have fallen to what we called (0+ / 0-)

        " along the way side" in this continuous battle. Some have died, some have sacraficed themselves and their careers. But it's more important than one person. In the case of Barack Obama, whom I saw out there on the streets of Chicago, long before any of us knew him, happen to be the right one. When i began to hear his name, I said what kind of name is that? I had no idea who they were talking about. Than i saw him on tv and said, i've seen him. The foundation was sat for Obama by a long line of fighters, known and unknown.

        When I first heard the open mix incident on fox, I cursed, than I thought deeper, what if this is Rev Jackson's way of distancing himself from Obama. I think it was. That's what Rev Wright did.

  •  I campaigned in AZ for the President, working (3+ / 0-)

    with a lovely African American couple. As we watched Grant Park on the telly, the Mrs. part of the couple retched when we saw the camera on Jesse, saying he probably has an onion slice in his hand he held to his face.

    I try to focus on the good stuff. My daughters walked out of one of his speeches at Whitney Young High School, just after the "hymie-town" comment. We are Jews and his comment cut to the bone.

    I have heard stories about his being present when Dr. King was murdered. Those stories are not complementary for Jesse and I will refrain from telling them in detail.

    I think he is tragic. I am almost never completely out of sympathy, so I will extend some because his son is ill.

    •  Several others were with MLK when he was murdered. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mirandasright, Day24Day7

      In fact, some were on the balcony before Martin came out. But yes, I have always been suspicious, that one or more of them let him down or helped set him up, considering all the other actions taken by law enforcement just before it happened. And the room change from down stairs. We were suppose to go to Memphis for the march. There was a lot of backstabbing and brain washed, sold out blacks and some whose families were threatened. I wouldn't put it pass some of them. My question has always been who?

      •  uh yeah - John Lewis (0+ / 0-)

        who was also there when both brothers Kennedy were assasinated

        Follow on twitter @progressiveelec -

        by alpolitics on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:50:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that is truly ridiculous. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nowhere Man

        Frontline, iifc, (any way, on PBS) did an in depth documentary about the killing and killer of Dr. King. You need to go watch it.

        The documentary detailed the life and travels of his killer who had been tracking King. There was no connection between him and any Black person.

        You need to give Jesse and the rest of them some slack. It was and is traumatic having someone you know and revere shot dead in front of you. And later eye witness accounts are most unreliable.

        Jesse has done a lot of good. And CT mongers like you do a lot of harm.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 01:47:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  i don't think anyone is saying Jesse was involved (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Granny, Day24Day7, Chris Jay

      but supposedly he wasn't there and just showed up once he heard to wash his hands in his blood. that's what LG was referring to I'm pretty sure

      Follow on twitter @progressiveelec -

      by alpolitics on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:52:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, only that. I don't think any of the AA (0+ / 0-)

        leaders there would have betrayed Dr. King.

      •  That sounds like nothing any human being would do (0+ / 0-)

        It sounds much more like the kind of slander that people would invent about someone they despise.

        I have no particular love for Jesse Jackson, but this is the kind of thing that I would not believe about anyone without solid evidence. I'd urge you to do likewise.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 05:48:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We all get old (11+ / 0-)

    Most of us will become less relevant.

    Jackson can be proud of his legacy. I am proud to have voted for him and that I campaigned for him when he won the Michigan primary in 1988.

    Unlike a certain politician who promised to put on his comfortable shoes and walk the picket line, Jackson actually did ... In Kenosha, Wisconsin and in the Caterpillar and Staley strikes.

    He make some mistakes but no one is perfect. Not the President, and certainly not Clinton.

    He may be a bit beaten down. I'm a bit beaten down myself, fighting both the Republicans and the Democrats who continue to attack public education.

    I stood with Jackson in the 1980s and I stand with him now.

    A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

    by slatsg on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 06:18:32 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary and yes, it is very sad. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoregon, marykk, Zack from the SFV

    I hope for better days for he and Jesse Jr.

  •  Thanks for this diary. (9+ / 0-)

    I saw Rev. Jackson  on two occasions during the convention coverage and thought how indicative it is of how our party treats trailblazers from the left, Howard Dean being another. I voted for Jackson in the '88 primary and held my nose to vote for Dukakis, not that the Governor was a bad man, he just didn't have the charisma or the oratorical skills Jackson had. Historians will note how our country's toxic racism thwarted our country's progress, as well as limiting Rev. Jackson's potential.

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:03:54 PM PDT

  •  To be the leader of a liberal movement (10+ / 0-)

    requires the absolute willingness to never be rewarded.  Some of our greatest leaders were only rewarded by a bullet in the head, so falling into obscurity is something of a kindness in that line of work.  Jackson should be happy with what he has accomplished, and proud that he could be a part of this.  I'm proud just to have witnessed Barack Obama, so Jackson has far more to be happy about.

    Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

    by Troubadour on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:17:28 PM PDT

  •  Keep in mind that his son has been (13+ / 0-)

    hospitalized for several months, battling depression. That would be a saddening experience for anyone.

    Fortunately there's a new report that Rep. Jackson (the son) has been discharged from the hospital and is now home. Here's wishing him a complete recovery, and peace and healing to the entire family.

    http://news.yahoo.com/...

    •  I'm sorry, but I know SO many people who (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      awsdirector, timewarp

      suffer from that same condition and are not able to just pop out for several months of treatment without losing their jobs. Instead, they do the best they can--with medication, or whatever, but mostly just soldiering through and going to work  every day.

      He should step down. The whole Jackson family needs to finally just focus on healing themselves from mostly self-inflicted wounds--that is, pretending to serve the public for so many years, when really, they were just in it for their own gain.

      Yeah, that shit WILL come back to haunt you.

      •  Jeepers. I'm glad I didn't tell you that (12+ / 0-)

        I, like many other people, have been hospitalized for depression. I hope you're not that judgmental about the rest of us.

        •  my tax dollars aren't paying you (0+ / 0-)

          to represent me in Congress, are they?

          I didn't think so.

        •  or for your wife to represent me (0+ / 0-)

          on the city council while she's either A) busy having a good time with you in DC or B) up in MN dealing with your hospitalization.

          Sorry to sound so callous, but there are a few hundred thousand folks in my community who've got some pretty serious issues that need to be addressed at city, state and fed level and whose tax dollars are supposed to be paying for that representation.

          We're coming up on almost half a year now.

          Hope you had health insurance to cover your hospital stay--most people I know who suffer from the same wouldn't have the coverage to get that kind of treatment.

          •  Ouch. Look, I'm sorry you're not happy with your (8+ / 0-)

            Representative, but that's not my problem. All I did was try to express a note of compassion for someone with a troubled son. Hardly worth the vitriol you've poured on me.

            And wtf business is it of yours, that health insurance remark? Don't tell me you're so concerned about my insurance. You're just trying to me the bad person on the off chance that I had some coverage for a necessary treatment. As it happens, and since it's totally irrelevant to my post, it's none of your effing business.

            I think you must be a very unpleasant person. Just sayin'

            •  you're missing my point entirely. (0+ / 0-)

              These people are public servants. Their job is to represent the interests of their constituents--in the case of the Jacksons, a huge proportion of those constituents do NOT share the myriad privileges afforded them by these positions as public servants, the ability to take off 6 months being just one of many.
              When they get to a point in their lives where they can no longer serve their constituents (for whatever reason), then it's time for them to withdraw and let someone else step in who can.

              It's not about you at all. You're the one who brought yourself and your situation into the discussion.

          •  Did you resent Ted Kennedy taking time off (9+ / 0-)

            for his illness as well? Mental illness is no different than physical illness. It's a cruel employer, or society, that doesn't think people should have time to heal.

            Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

            by HappyinNM on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 02:03:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  bad shit happens to good people. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              msazdem

              believe me, I know.
              sometimes bad shit happens that puts you in a position you'd rather not be in--like having to quit your job because you cannot, in good conscience, continue to do it. If you are a person who actually HAS options (most people I know don't have those options, so losing their jobs to an extended leave would spell big time disaster, with no chance of finding another).

              It's not about "resentment", nor is it about making any kind of distinction between mental and physical illness (Jackson's illness, according to what little information his constituents have been given, is not limited to the mental health issues--it's complicated by gastrointestinal issues resulting from weight-loss surgery). But, in the case of public servants, it's about representation and serving the constituency.

              Ted Kennedy was not my "representative", so I had no opinion one way or the other. I'm surprised you didn't throw Gabby Gifford in there as another example. In that case, since her injury was sustained on the job, I think it's completely legitimate that she remain on the payroll.

              At this point, the Jackson family crisis has put them in a position where they can no longer even uphold the illusion that they are serving their constituents. It's time for them to let someone else do the job. I don't expect to see them standing in line at one of the many food pantry lines in the districts/wards they are supposed to be serving. Perhaps if you knew more about the conditions that prevail in the communities the Jacksons are supposed to be representing, you'd have more understanding for my point of view.

  •  Jackson spoke at the 2004 Convention. (5+ / 0-)

    It was a brilliant speech, calling back to forty acres and a mule.

    And then Brian Williams was all, "Whatever you were riffing about."

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:48:40 PM PDT

  •  The most important thing to me is (9+ / 0-)

    that he was there.
    He was brave enough, and humble enough to still attend and stand tall.
    We can never repay Jesse Jackson for his contribution to this country.
    Yes, I felt sad seeing him on the floor. But it was with pride and gratitude that I will choose to remember him.

  •  seeing him last night I thought..... (7+ / 0-)

    “Hold your head high, stick your chest out. It gets dark sometimes, but morning comes. Keep hope alive.”
    ― Jesse Jackson

    Reverend Jackson: YOU are somebody!!!!!

  •  The best convention speech I've ever heard: (14+ / 0-)

    For you Mr. Jackson.  I think of it often.  I hope your son is feeling better and your family is doing well.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Tonight, we pause and give praise and honor to God for being good enough to allow us to be at this place, at this time. When I look out at this convention, I see the face of America: Red, Yellow, Brown, Black and White. We are all precious in God's sight - the real rainbow coalition.

    (Applause)

    All of us - all of us who are here think that we are seated. But we're really standing on someone's shoulders. Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Rosa Parks. (Applause) The mother of the civil rights movement. [Mrs. Rosa Parks was brought to the podium.]

    I want to express my deep love and appreciation for support my family has given me over the past months. They have endured pain, anxiety, threat and fear. But they have been strengthened and made secure by our faith in God, in America, and in you. Your love has protected us and made us strong. To my wife Jackie, the foundation of our family; to our five children whom you met tonight; to my mother, Mrs. Helen Jackson, who is present tonight; and to our grandmother, Mrs. Matilda Burns; to my brother Chuck and his family; to my mother-in-law, Mrs. Gertrude Brown, who just last month at age 61 graduated from Hampton Institute - A marvelous achievement. (Applause)

    I offer my appreciation to Mayor Andrew Young who has provided such gracious hospitality to all of us this week.

    And a special salute to President Jimmy Carter. (Applause) President Carter restored honor to the White House after Watergate. He gave many of us a special opportunity to grow. For his kind words, for his unwavering commitment to peace in the world, and for the votes that came from his family, every member of his family, led Billy and Amy, I offer special thanks to the Carter family.

    (Applause)

    My right and my privilege to stand here before you has been won, won in my lifetime, by the blood and the sweat of the innocent.

    Twenty-four years ago, the late Fannie Lou Hamer and Aaron Henry - who sits here tonight from Mississippi - were locked out into the streets in Atlantic City; the head of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

    But tonight, a Black and White delegation from Mississippi is headed by Ed Cole, a Black man from Mississippi; 24 years later. (Applause)

    Many were lost in the struggle for the right to vote: Jimmy Lee Jackson, a young student, gave his life; Viola Liuzzo, a White mother from Detroit, called nigger lover, had her brains blown out at point blank range; [Michael] Schwerner, [Andrew] Goodman and [James] Chaney - two Jews and a Black - found in a common grave, boddies riddled with bullets in Mississippi; the four darling little girls in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. They died that we might have a right to live.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lies only a few miles from us tonight. Tonight he must feel good as he looks down upon us. We sit here together, a rainbow, a coalition - the sons and daughters of slavemasters and the sons and daughters of slaves, sitting together around a common table, to decide the direction of our party and our country. His heart would be full tonight.

    As a testament to the struggles of those who have gone before; as a legacy for those who will come after; as a tribute to the endurance, the patience, the courage of our forefathers and mothers; as an assurance that their prayers are being answered, their work have not been in vain, and hope is eternal; tomorrow night my name will go into nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America.

    We meet tonight at the crossroads, a point of decision. Shall we expand, be inclusive, find unity and power; or suffer division and impotence?

    We've come to Atlanta, the cradle of the old South, the crucible of the new South. Tonight, there is a sense of celebration, because we are moved, fundamentally moved from racial battlegrounds by law, to economic common ground. Tomorrow we will challenge to move to higher ground.

    Common ground! Think of Jerusalem, the intersection where many trails met. A small village that became the birthplace for three religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Why was this village so blessed? Because it provided a crossroads there different people met, different cultures, different civilizations could meet and find common ground. When people come together, flowers always flourish - the air is rich with the aroma of a new spring.

    Take New York, the dynamic metropolis. What makes New York so special? It's the invitation of the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses who yearn to breathe free." Not restricted to English only. (Applause) Many people, many cultures, many languages - with one thing in common, they yearn to breathe free. Common ground!

    Tonight in Atlanta, for the first time in this century, we convene in the South; a state where Governors once stood in school house doors; where Julian Bond was denied a seal in the State Legislature because of his conscientious objection to the Vietnam War; a city that, through its five Black Universities, has graduated more black students than any city in the world. (Applause) Atlanta, now a modern intersection of the new South.

    Common ground! That's the challenge of our party tonight. Left wing. Right wing.

    Progress will not come through boundless liberalism nor static conservatism, but at the critical mass of mutual survival - not at boundless liberalism nor static conservatism, but at the critical mass of mutual survival. It takes two wings to fly. Whether you're a hawk or a dove, you're just a bird living in the same environment, in the same world.

    The Bible teaches that when lions and lambs lie down together, none will be afraid and there will be peace in the valley. It sounds impossible. Lions eat lambs. Lambs sensibly flee from lions. Yet when even lions and lambs will find common ground. Why? Because neither lions nor lambs can survive nuclear war. If lions and lambs can find common ground, surely we can as well - as civilized people. (Applause)

    The only time that we win is when we come together. In 1960, John Kennedy, the late John Kennedy, beat Richard Nixon by only 112,000 votes - less than one vote per precinct. He won by the margin of our hope. He brought us together. He reached out. He had the courage to defy his advisors and inquire about Dr. King's jailing in Albany, Georgia. We won by the margin of our hope, inspired by courageous leadership.

    In 1964, Lyndon Johnson brought wings together - the thesis, the antithesis, and the creative synthesis - and together we won.

    In 1976, Jimmy Carter unified us again, and we won. When do we not come together, we never win.

    In 1968, the vision and despair in July led to our defeat in November. In 1980, rancor in the spring and the summer led to Reagan in the fall.

    When we divide, we cannot win. We must find common ground as the basis for survival and development and change, and growth. (Applause)

    Today when we debated, differed, deliberated, agreed to agree, agree to disagree, when we had the good judgment to argue a case and then not self-destruct, George Bush was just a little further away from the White House and a little closer to private life. (Applause)

    Tonight I salute Governor Michael Dukakis. (Applause) He has run - He has run a well-managed and a dignified campaign. No matter how tired or how tried, he always resisted the temptation to stoop to demagoguery.

    I've watched a good mind fast at work, with steel nerves, guiding his campaign out of the crowded field without appeal to the worst in us. I have watched his perspective grow as his environment has expanded. I've seen his toughness and tenacity close up. I know his commitment to public service. Michael Dukakis' parents were a doctor and a teacher; my parents a maid, a beautician and a janitor. There's a great gap between Brookline, Massachusetts and Haney Street in the Fieldcrest Village housing projects in Greenville, South Carolina. (Applause)

    He studied law; I studied theology. There are differences of religion, region, and race; differences in experiences and perspectives. But the genius of America is that out of the many we become one.

    Providence has enabled our paths to intersect. His foreparents came to America on immigrant ships; my foreparents came to America on slave ships. But whatever the original ships, we're in the same boat tonight. (Applause) Our ships could pass in the night-- if we have a false sense of independence-- or they could collide and crash. We could lose our passengers. But we can seek a high reality and a greater good.

    Apart, we can drift on the broken pieces of Reagonomics, satisfy our baser instincts, and exploit the fears of our people. At our highest we can call upon noble instincts and navigate this vessel to safety. The greater good is the common good.

    As Jesus said, "Not My will, but Thine be done." It was his way of saying there's a higher good beyond personal comfort or position.

    The good of our Nation is at stake. It's commitment to working men and women, to the poor and the vulnerable, to the many in the world.

    With so many guided missiles, and so much misguided leadership, the stakes are exceedingly high. Our choice? Full participation in a democratic government, or more abandonment and neglect. And so this night, we choose not a false sense of independence, and our capacity to survive and endure. Tonight we choose interdependency, and our capacity to act and unite for the greater good.

    Common good is finding commitment to new priorities to expansion and inclusion. A commitment to expanded participation in the Democratic Party at every level. A commitment to a shared national campaign strategy and involvement at every level.

    A commitment to new priorities that insure that hope will be kept alive. A common ground commitment to a legislative agenda for empowerment, for the John Conyers bill-- universal, on-site, same-day registration everywhere. (Applause) A commitment to D.C. statehood and empowerment-- D.C. deserves statehood. (Applause) A commitment to economic set-asides, commitment to the Dellums bill for comprehensive sanctions against South Africa. (Applause) A shared commitment to a common direction.

    Common ground! Easier said than done. Where do you find common ground? At the point of challenge. This campaign has shown that politics need not be marketed by politicians, packaged by pollsters and pundits. Politics can be a moral arena where people come together to find common ground.

    We find common ground at the plant gate that closes on workers without notice. We find common ground at the farm auction, where a good farmer loses his or her land to bad loans or diminishing markets. Common ground at the school yard where teachers cannot get adequate pay, and students cannot get a scholarship, and can't make a loan. Common ground at the hospital admitting room, where somebody tonight is dying because they cannot afford to go upstairs to a bed that's empty waiting for someone with insurance to get sick. We are a better nation than that. We must do better. (Applause)

    Common ground. What is leadership if not present help in a time of crisis? So I met you at the point of challenge. In Jay, Maine, where paper workers were striking for fair wages; in Greenville, Iowa, where family farmers struggle for a fair price; in Cleveland, Ohio, where working women seek comparable worth; in McFarland, California, where the children of Hispanic farm workers may be dying from poisoned land, dying in clusters with cancer; in an AIDS hospice in Houston, Texas, where the sick support one another, too often rejected by their own parents and friends.

    Common ground. America is not a blanket woven from one thread, one color, one cloth. When I was a child growing up in Greenville, South Carolina my grandmama could not afford a blanket, she didn't complain and we did not freeze. Instead she took pieces of old cloth - patches, wool, silk, gabardine, crockersack - only patches, barely good enough to wipe off your shoes with. But they didn't stay that way very long. With sturdy hands and a strong cord, she sewed them together into a quilt, a thing of beauty and power and culture. Now, Democrats, we must build such a quilt.

    Farmers, you seek fair prices and you are right - but you cannot stand alone. Your patch is not big enough. Workers, you fight for fair wages, you are right - but your patch of labor is not big enough. Women, you seek comparable worth and pay equity, you are right - but your patch is not big enough. (Applause)

    Women, mothers, who seek Head Start, and day care and prenatal care on the front side of life, relevant jail care and welfare on the back side of life - you are right - but your patch is not big enough. Students, you seek scholarships, you are right - but your patch is not big enough. Blacks and Hispanics, when we fight for civil rights, we are right - but our patch is not big enough.

    Gays and lesbians, when you fight against discrimination and a cure for AIDS, you are right - but your patch is not big enough. Conservatives and progressives, when you fight for what you believe, right wing, left wing, hawk, dove, you are right from your point of view, but your point of view is not enough.

    But don't despair. Be as wise as my grandmama. Pull the patches and the pieces together, bound by a common thread. When we form a great quilt of unity and common ground, we'll have the power to bring about health care and housing and jobs and education and hope to our Nation. (Standing ovation)

    We, the people, can win!

    We stand at the end of along dark night of reaction. We stand tonight united in the commitment to a new direction. For almost eight years we've been led by those who view social good coming from private interest, who view public life as a means to increase private wealth. They have been prepared to sacrifice the common good of the many to satisfy the private interests and the wealth of a few.

    We believe in a government that's a tool of our democracy in service to the public, not an instrument of the aristocracy in search of private wealth. We believe in government with the consent of the government with the consent of the governed, "of, for and by the people." We must now emerge into a new day with a new direction.

    Reaganomics. Based on the belief that the rich had too little money and the poor had too much. That's classic Reaganomics. They believe that the poor had too much money and the rich had too little money so they engaged in reverse Robin Hood - took from the poor and gave to the rich, paid for by the middle class. We cannot stand four more years of Reaganomics in any version, in any disguise.(Applause)

    How do I document that case? Seven years later, the richest 1 percent of our society pays 20 percent less in taxes. The poorest 10 percent pay 20 percent more. Reaganomics.

    Reagan gave the rich and the powerful a multibillion-dollar party. Now the party's over, he expects the people to pay for the damage. I take this principal position, convention, let us not raise taxes on the poor and the middle-class, but those who had the party, the rich and the powerful must pay for the party. (Applause)

    I just want to take common sense to high places. We're spending $150 billion a year defending Europe and Japan 43 years after the war is over. We have more troops in Europe tonight than we had seven years ago. Yet the threat of war is ever more remote.

    Germany and Japan are now creditor nations; that means they've got a surplus. We are a debtor nation. It means we are in debt. Let them share more of the burden of their own defense. Use some of that money to build decent housing. Use some of that money to educate our children. Use some of that money for long-term health care. Use some of that money to wipe out these slums and put America back to work! (Applause)

    I just want to take common sense to high places. If we can bail out Europe and Japan; if we can bail out Continental Bank and Chrysler-- and Mr. Iaccoca, makes $8,000 an hour, we can bail out the family farmer. (Applause)

    I just want to make common sense. It does not make sense to close down 650,000 family farms in this country while importing food from abroad subsidized by the U.S. Government. Let's make sense.(Applause)

    It does not make sense to be escorting all our tankers up and down the Persian Gulf paying $2.50 for every $1 worth of oil we bring out, while oil wells are capped in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. I just want to make sense.(Applause)

    Leadership must meet the moral challenge of its day. What's the moral challenge of our day? We have public accommodations. We have the right to vote.

    We have open housing. What's the fundamental challenge of our day? It is to end economic violence. Plant closings without notice-- economic violence. Even the greedy do not profit long from greed-- economic violence.

    Most poor people are not lazy. They are not black. They are not brown. They are mostly White and female and young. But whether White, Black or Brown, a hungry baby's belly turned inside out is the same color-- color it pain, color it hurt, color it agony.

    Most poor people are not on welfare. Some of them are illiterate and can't read the want-ad sections. And when they can, they can't find a job that matches the address. They work hard everyday. I know, I live amongst them. They catch the early bus. They work every day. They raise other people's children. They work everyday.

    They clean the streets. They work everyday. They drive dangerous cabs. They change the beds you slept in in these hotels last night and can't get a union contract. They work everyday. (Applause)

    No, no, they're not lazy. Someone must defend them because it's right and they cannot speak for themselves. They work in hospitals. I know they do. They wipe the bodies of those who are sick with fever and pain. They empty their bedpans. They clean out their commodes. No job is beneath them, and yet when they get sick they cannot lie in the bed they made up every day. America, that is not right (Applause) We are a better Nation than that! (Applause)

    We need a real war on drugs. You can't "just say no." It's deeper than that. You can't just get a palm reader or an astrologer. It's more profound than that.(Applause)

    We are spending $150 billion on drugs a year. We've gone from ignoring it to focusing on the children. Children cannot buy $150 billion worth of drugs a year; a few high-profile athletes-- athletes are not laundering $150 billion a year-- bankers are.(Applause)

    I met the children in Watts who unfortunately, in their despair, their grapes of hope have become raisins of despair, and they're turning on each other and they're self-destructing. But I stayed with them all night long. I wanted to hear their case.

    They said, "Jesse Jackson, as you challenge us to say no to drugs, you're right; and to not sell them, you're right; and to not use these guns, you're right." And by the way, the promise of CETA; they displaced CETA-- they did not replace CETA. "We have neither jobs nor houses nor services nor training; no way out.

    "Some of us take drugs as anesthesia for our pain. Some take drugs as a way of pleasure, good short-term pleasure and long-term pain. Some sell drugs to make money. It's wrong, we know, but you need to know that we know. We can go and buy the drugs by the boxes at the port. If we can buy the drugs at the port, don't you believe the Federal government can stop it if they want to?" (Applause)

    They say, "We don't have Saturday night specials anymore. They say, We buy AK47's and Uzi's, the latest make of weapons. We buy them across the along these boulevards."

    You cannot fight a war on drugs unless until you're going to challenge the bankers and the gun sellers and those who grow them. Don't just focus on the children, let's stop drugs at the level of supply and demand. We must end the scourge on the American Culture! (Applause)

    Leadership. What difference will we make? Leadership. We cannot just go along to get along. We must do more than change Presidents. We must change direction.

    Leadership must face the moral challenge of our day. The nuclear war build-up is irrational. Strong leadership cannot desire to look tough and let that stand in the way of the pursuit of peace. Leadership must reverse the arms race. At least we should pledge no first use. Why? Because first use begets first retaliation. And that's mutual annihilation. That's not a rational way out.

    No use at all. Let's think it out and not fight it our because it's an unwinnable fight. Why hold a card that you can never drop? Let's give peace a chance.

    Leadership. We now have this marvelous opportunity to have a breakthrough with the Soviets. Last year 200,000 Americans visited the Soviet Union. There's a chance for joint ventures in space-- not Star Wars and war arms escalation but a space defense initiative. Let's build in space together and demilitarize the heavens. There's a way out.

    America, let us expand. When Mr. Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev met there was a big meeting. They represented together one-eighth of the human race. Seven-eighths of the human race was locked out of that room. Most people in the world tonight-- half are Asian, one-half of them are Chinese. There are 22 nations in the Middle East. There's Europe; 40 million Latin Americans next door to us; the Caribbean; Africa-- a half-billion people.

    Most people in the world today are Yellow or Brown or Black, non-Christian, poor, female, young and don't speak English in the real world.

    This generation must offer leadership to the real world. We're losing ground in Latin America, Middle East, South Africa because we're not focusing on the real world. That's the real world. We must use basic principles, support international law. We stand the most to gain from it. Support human rights; we believe in that. Support self-determination, we're built on that. Support economic development, you know it's right. Be consistent and gain our moral authority in the world. I challenge you tonight, my friends, let's be bigger and better as a Nation and as a Party! (Applause)

    We have basic challenges - freedom in South Africa. We have already agreed as Democrats to declare South Africa to be a terrorist state. But don't just stop there. Get South Africa out of Angola; free Namibia; support the front line states. We must have a new humane human rights consistent policy in Africa.

    I'm often asked, "Jesse, why do you take on these tough issues? They're not very political. We can't win that way."

    If an issue is morally right, it will eventually be political. It may be political and never be right. Fanny Lou Hamer didn't have the most votes in Atlantic City, but her principles have outlasted the life of every delegate who voted to lock her out. Rosa Parks did not have the most votes, but she was morally right. Dr. King didn't have the most votes about the Vietnam War, but he was morally right. If we are principled first, our politics will fall in place. "Jesse, why do you take these big bold initiatives?" A poem by an unknown author went something like this: "We mastered the air, we conquered the sea, annihilated distance and prolonged life, but we're not wise enough to live on this earth without war and without hate."

    As for Jesse Jackson: "I'm tired of sailing my little boat, far inside the harbor bar. I want to go out where the big ships float, out on the deep where the great ones are. And should my frail craft prove too slight for waves that sweep those billows o'er, I'd rather go down in the stirring fight than drowse to death at the sheltered shore."

    We've got to go out, my friends, where the big boats are. (Applause)

    And then for our children. Young America, hold your head high now. We can win. We must not lose to the drugs, and violence, premature pregnancy, suicide, cynicism, pessimism and despair. We can win. Wherever you are tonight, now I challenge you to hope and to dream. Don't submerge your dreams. Exercise above all else, even on drugs, dream of the day you are drug free. Even in the gutter, dream of the day that you will be up on your feet again.

    You must never stop dreaming. Face reality, yes, but don't stop with the way things are. Dream of things as they ought to be. Dream. Face pain, but love, hope, faith and dreams will help you rise above the pain. Use hope and imagination as weapons of survival and progress, but you keep on dreaming, young America. Dream of peace. Peace is rational and reasonable. War is irrational in this age, and unwinnable.

    Dream of teachers who teach for life and not for a living. Dream of doctors who are concerned more about public health than private wealth. Dream of lawyers more concerned about justice than a judgeship. Dream of preachers who are concerned more about prophecy than profiteering. Dream on the high road with sound values.

    And then America, as we go forth to September, October, November and then beyond, America must never surrender to a high moral challenge.

    Do not surrender to drugs. The best drug policy is a "no first use." Don't surrender with needles and cynicism. (Applause) Let's have "no first use" on the one hand, or clinics on the other. Never surrender, young America. Go forward.

    America must never surrender to malnutrition. We can feed the hungry and clothe the naked. We must never surrender. We must go forward.

    We must never surrender to inequality. Women cannot compromise ERA or comparable worth. Women are making 60 cents on the dollar to what a man makes. Women cannot buy meat cheaper. Women cannot buy bread cheaper. Women cannot buy milk cheaper. Women deserve to get paid for the work that you do. (Applause) It's right and it's fair. (Applause)

    Don't surrender, my friends. Those who have AIDS tonight, you deserve our compassion. Even with AIDS you must not surrender.

    In your wheelchairs. I see you sitting here tonight in those wheelchairs. I've stayed with you. I've reached out to you across our Nation. Don't you give up. I know it's tough sometimes. People look down on you. It took you a little more effort to get here tonight. And no one should look down on you, but sometimes mean people do. The only justification we have for looking down on someone is that we're going to stop and pick them up.

    But even in your wheelchairs, don't you give up. We cannot forget 50 years ago when our backs were against the wall, Roosevelt was in a wheelchair. I would rather have Roosevelt in a wheelchair than Reagan and Bush on a horse. (Applause) Don't you surrender and don't you give up. Don't surrender and don't give up!

    Why I cannot challenge you this way? "Jesse Jackson, you don't understand my situation. You be on television. You don't understand. I see you with the big people. You don't understand my situation."

    I understand. You see me on TV, but you don't know the me that makes me, me. They wonder, "Why does Jesse run?" because they see me running for the White House. They don't see the house I'm running from. (Applause)

    I have a story. I wasn't always on television. Writers were not always outside my door. When I was born late one afternoon, October 8th, in Greenville, South Carolina, no writers asked my mother her name. Nobody chose to write down our address. My mama was not supposed to make it, and I was not supposed to make it. You see, I was born of a teen-age mother, who was born of a teen-age mother.

    I understand. I know abandonment, and people being mean to you, and saying you're nothing and nobody and can never be anything.

    I understand. Jesse Jackson is my third name. I'm adopted. When I had no name, my grandmother gave me her name. My name was Jesse Burns until I was 12. So I wouldn't have a blank space, she gave me a name to hold me over. I understand when nobody knows your name. I understand when you have no name.

    I understand. I wasn't born in the hospital. Mama didn't have insurance. I was born in the bed at [the] house. I really do understand. Born in a three-room house, bathroom in the backyard, slop jar by the bed, no hot and cold running water.

    I understand. Wallpaper used for decoration? No. For a windbreaker. I understand. I'm a working person's person. That's why I understand you whether you're Black or White.

    I understand work. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I had a shovel programmed for my hand.

    My mother, a working woman. So many of the days she went to work early, with runs in her stockings. She knew better, but she wore runs in her stockings so that my brother and I could have matching socks and not be laughed at at school. I understand.

    At 3 o'clock on Thanksgiving Day, we couldn't eat turkey because momma was preparing somebody else's turkey at 3 o'clock. We had to play football to entertain ourselves. And then around 6 o'clock she would get off the Alta Vista bus and we would bring up the leftovers and eat our turkey-- leftovers, the carcass, the cranberries-- around 8 o'clock at night. I really do understand.

    Every one of these funny labels they put on you, those of you who are watching this broadcast tonight in the projects, on the corners, I understand. Call you outcast, low down, you can't make it, you're nothing, you're from nobody, subclass, underclass; when you see Jesse Jackson, when my name goes in nomination, your name goes in nomination. (Applause)

    I was born in the slum, but the slum was not born in me. (Applause) And it wasn't born in you, and you can make it. (Applause)

    Wherever you are tonight, you can make it. Hold your head high, stick your chest out. You can make it. It gets dark sometimes, but the morning comes. Don't you surrender. Suffering breeds character, character breeds faith. In the end faith will not disappoint.

    You must not surrender. You may or may not get there but just know that you're qualified. And you hold on, and hold out. We must never surrender. America will get better and better.

    Keep hope alive. (Applause) Keep hope alive. (Applause) Keep hope alive. On tomorrow night and beyond, keep hope alive! (Applause)

    I love you very much. (Applause) I love you very much. (Standing ovation and spontaneous demonstration)

    "Undermining Americans' belief in their own institutions of self-government remains a prime GOP electoral strategy." — Mike Lofgren

    by churchlady on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:59:14 PM PDT

    •  Hell 2 the YEAH!!! (5+ / 0-)

      PSHAW!!!! Not feeling the sadness. But then again:
      1- I love and respect the Reverend Jesse Jackson
      2- In OUR CULTURE, we have a little something we call "passing the torch." With all due respect to the diary author, what you're seeing (and not understanding) is just that.

      The torch has been passed to Barack Obama.
      When it comes to taking us forward, no African American in their right mind would deny the younger, brighter, faster, sharper among us to take a back seat. And with a blade as sharp as Barack Obama, nobody, including the good Reverend himself, would stand in his way.

      We are the masters of the relay (as evidenced in the Olympics). Marcus Garvey passed the torch, Elijah Muhammed passed the torch, MLK passed the torch and Jesse Jackson has passed the torch. And when the time comes, Barack Obama will pass the torch. That's how we roll as a people.

      Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States, Julian Castro and First Lady Erica, 2016 baby! 2016!

      by tha puddin on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 08:32:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Think of all those scumbag Republicans who get (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samddobermann

    recycled-Ralph Reid comes to mind. It ain't over 'til it's over. We may yet see Jesse Jackson hanging with the movers and shakers.
    I'm glad you wrote this diary. I saw the shot of Jackson at watch party and wondered why he wasn't more visible. I had forgotten about the hot mic incident.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 08:24:01 PM PDT

  •  Last time I saw Jesse Jackson (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wuod kwatch, ladybug53, shaharazade

    He was part of an event called We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda.

    Jackson may not ever have a place in the upper echelons again, but he is still relevant enough to have a voice in the discussion about the future of the country.

    Interestingly, Louis Farrakhan said at We Count! that he'd stayed quiet and removed when it came to then-candidate Barack Obama because he didn't want to damage his chances. I wonder how Jackson saw things. There is no doubt in my mind Jackson wants the President to succeed, of course; I just wonder what sort of thinking his lifetime of accumulated experiences prompted.

    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

    by lotusmaglite on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 08:36:57 PM PDT

    •  **Edit** (0+ / 0-)

      That should have read:

      Jackson may not ever have a place in the upper echelons of American politics again, but he is still relevant enough to have a voice in the discussion about the future of the country.

      Added text in bold. My bad.

      The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

      by lotusmaglite on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 08:38:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wanna See Something Truly Sad... (4+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    •  Jackson looks like he is trying to hide away . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      904Dem

      while Hannity looks like he is trying to assist him in the process.

      Jackson: "Sweet Jesus, I don't want to be seen with that guy."

      Hannity: "Sweet Jesus, what will my viewers think if I'm seen with that guy."

  •  i.noticed him the other nite (0+ / 0-)

    Jackson was walking on the convention floor with this very sour face.just so miserable looking.

  •  Huh. I wonder how many Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    were also wondering what was going through his mind as he stood on the convention floor.  I certainly noticed him, too and many thoughts crossed my mind in seconds before the camera switched,  "There's Jesse, ... is he feeling really sad?  Or is it a resentful expression I see on his face? Well, or maybe he's feeling sad for himself."  

    Thank you for the background on this man's rise and fall.  

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 09:53:46 PM PDT

  •  Don't feel so sorry. JJ had a good run and (8+ / 0-)

    had a long time in the sun, longer and higher than most of use will ever have and for all his missteps he got more done than most of us ever will.

  •  Symbolic passing of the torch. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, ladybug53, ivorybill

    At the liberal rally on the Mall in Washington, DC back in October 2010, some of the older generation of leaders symbolically handed off their leadership to members of the younger generation as they recited the "I Have a Dream" speech.  Jesse Jackson was among them.  

    It is impossible to think of what is going on in Jesse Jackson's mind unless you are Rev. Jackson.  But perhaps to him, that handoff in 2010 was more than symbolism.

     

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 10:25:16 PM PDT

  •  Jackson reaped what he has sown (3+ / 0-)

    There are very good reasons that Mr.Jackson slinked into the hall as a semi-vagrant on the night President Obama made his convincing case for re-election.Jackson's later career has been the hallmark of an entitlement and group rights mentality that non-crazy conservatives legitimately gut us on.
         More pointedly, Jackson has spent most of his time enriching himself, his family and his cronies under cloak of the civil rights movement and legitimate demands for respect and justice that all people deserve.A beer distributorship for his sons and shakedown money for Operation PUSH, under threats of boycotts and "bad publicity"do not serve these causes. Unfortunately, for many years, his "cause" has been financially  enriching himself while basking in the reflected glory of Dr. King.
         Add to his grifter mentality the "Hymietown" remark and the demeaning Obama slam of 2008, and what walked into the convention was his accumulated body of work. Good riddance.

    •  his mistakes, if you call them that, should (0+ / 0-)

      Have landed him in jail for a couple of reasons. Especially early in his career.

      His grandstanding has damaged innocents, just as often as he pointed out an injustice.

      Like any man, he's done some good. But don't wear blinders about the bad, either.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:33:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Speaking of Operation PUSH (0+ / 0-)

      I was going to school in Chicago in the early 80s when Jackson was reaching the height of his fame. Operation PUSH was often in the news in those days, but not (as I remember) for anything that it actually did. So I'm still wondering: What did Operation PUSH do?

      Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

      by Nowhere Man on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 05:26:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was a Jackson delegate to the Texas convention (6+ / 0-)

    in 1988.  I saw Jackson speak twice and I got a chance to shake his hand.  

    I remember that the speech he gave was magnificent.  He had us all standing on our chairs, we were cheering, we were weeping, we were angry with moral outrage at injustice.  We were fired up and ready to go...

    and then, Michael Dukakis spoke.  I thought as I watched and listened that he was the closest thing to a cardboard cutout that a real human could be.  They had a balloon drop for him and it was just such a profoundly  phony moment.  

    I think if the people who vote in the precinct caucuses and the local conventions had really had the guts they should have had, Jackson would have made a much better candidate than Dukakis did.  

    The thing is, he told truth to power and did it with such honest and driving passion that it put a lot of cautious people off.

    But his legacy lives on.  Jesse Jackson made the way for Barack Obama.  Had he not been there for all the years that he was there, driving forward, pushing, speaking, inspiring so many, even Democrats would not have come to be willing to support a black candidate.  

    As has been said recently, no one gets there without the efforts of those who have laid the foundation before.

    Jesse Jackson will always be a great man.  Coming from where he came from and overcoming what he had to in order to become what he became, man.  What a tour de force of a life.  

    He deserves a great deal of gratitude for what he has done and should get a good deal of respect for still being willing to show up and give others support.  

    He kept hope alive.

    He is Somebody.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 11:29:46 PM PDT

  •  I see this as more sweet and less bitter . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dtcommon, schumann, Nowhere Man

    Tragedy would be Jackson continuing to undercut Obama, or Jackson unwilling to attend the event at all, or Jackson taking a job on Fox News to denounce Obama.

    Yes, Jackson is on the floor, near the stage (a prime spot in the audience no less, but perhaps not the same as being elevated above the crowd, or the speaker on the stage).  And yes, perhaps it could have been him -- although I think it was still too early, even if he had done everything right in 1988.

    What I see is someone who cares more about the transcendent Dream, than his or her own private ambitions.  I see someone who has come to terms with his place in the process.  

    How many people who have ascended to a position of power, and who begin to blend the cause with personal ambition, can willingly accept a diminished role later?  

    This is a remarkable.   His willingness to stand on the floor, indicates just how genuine his commitment to the cause was.   That's a much more positive story.

    In the end, we bring our own experience to the way that we view this type of image.  I'll grant that there is some tragedy.  And for those who invested in the Jackson candidacy, I can see how the tragic might weigh more heavily in the balance.  

    Great diary.

  •  I dropped into this diary earlier today, (0+ / 0-)

    and left because I didn't understand the point. After reading all the comments, I still don't.

    Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

    by HappyinNM on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 02:25:31 AM PDT

  •  Jesse Jackson came to Madison when other top (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, shaharazade, dtcommon

    Dems did not.  Had the honor of shaking his hand and walked into the rotunda w/ him.  I think the point of this diary is that we could look at Mr. Jackson as a tragic figure, or we could look at him as another progressive leader in the big Dem. tent.   Saw the above picture too.  I think it is pretty cool.  On a spring day in Madison i'll always remember seeing him as more than just a face in the crowd...

    I'm just wasting a great big Corporation and the entire fund. The girders of Wall Street And the temples of money. And the high priests Of the expense account. And Im wasting the whole thing. J. Strummer

    by bongojazz on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 05:29:01 AM PDT

  •  SNL Song from the Era (0+ / 0-)

    "Don't let me down"
    "Don't let me down"
    ("Hymietown,...)

    Eddie Murphy Sings

  •  I agree with you MacDaffy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nowhere Man

    What saddens me is that had JJ been able to control his human urges he would have been able to stand up to the critics. He has done so many things that has impacted his credibility (child with mistress) that he had nowhere to go but down.

    I wish there were many more Martin Luther Kings among the African American community to stand up to not just the white male domination but to the clowns like Alan West, Herman Cain and Michael Steele. Change comes slow but progress is making it so.

  •  Human beings are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MacDaffy, Nowhere Man

    well, human beings.

    Jackson's place in history came kinda accidentally.  As student body president at NC A&T, he led sit-ins in Greensboro, no doubt finding a movement and stepping in front of it to lead it.  Which led to a theological degree and further involvement in the civil rights movement.

    After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., all of King's "lieutenants" took active roles in the continuing struggle with Jackson becoming a national figure with his "I...am...somebody" campaign.

    Back in the early 1970s when white Southern politicians and "progressive" Chambers of Commerce could be embarrassed (or shamed), Jackson came back to his hometown Greenville SC with a well-publicized "homecoming" rally at the Grenville Memorial Auditorium--the largest venue in town at the time.  He spoke to a standing room only crowd and announced a number of things that he was working on in Greenville, most notably convincing the media to hire African-American print and TV reporters.  Several token hires (and they turned out to be good ones) occurred before he left town.

    People who succeed at big things often have huge egos and the hubris that goes with it.  And it eventually trips them up.

    It's very easy to succumb to a halo effect when looking at leaders like Jackson.  And to a reverse halo effect when there is a serious misstep.

    Would that we judge ourselves the same way.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 12:08:39 PM PDT

  •  "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chris Jay

    I still can't wrap my head around Al Sharpton evolving while Jesse regressed.

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:42:17 PM PDT

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