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Jesse Jackson: ‘We Are a Better America Today’

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Posted on Nov 5, 2008
Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson took a moment on Wednesday to elaborate upon his wordless reaction (that spoke volumes) Tuesday night in Chicago as Barack Obama claimed victory in the 2008 presidential election.

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By Opening Eyes, November 5, 2008 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

I am 54 years old, white.  I was emotionally bashed by my racist father for supporting the civil rights movement as an idealistic teenager.  I always felt an aliance with non-whites, though I never suffered what they suffered.  I was shocked when I went to Chicago and could feel the hatred Blacks had for Whites.  That was 30 years ago.  I haven’t been back, and maybe that has changed.
I fully supported Obama in this election.  He is a superior human being.  We all need to help him unite and lead this country.  I came to be disgusted with how Republicans sought to defame him and make their base afraid of him.  I hope they work to undo the damage they have done.
I feel renewed. I find myself spontaneously smiling.  I am proud of this country.  I rejoice with others around the world for the symbolism accomplished yesterday. 
I am not afraid Obama will bring too much government.  I hope he undoes the damage our corporate capitalist system has wrought by allowing a few to prosper (ie CEO’s of health insurance companies) while others suffer (millions without health care or adequate health insurance).  We could all prosper more if those few would not be allowed to be so greedy at our expense.  Corporate tyranny undermines a society.  It seeks to enslave us.  We don’t need to accept those terms.  Government needs to help in that regard.

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By cyrena, November 5, 2008 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Thanks mackTN. Your post is much appreciated.

And, for many of us, (and I’m less than 2 years younger than you) there is much of Jesse Jackson to appreciate. We MUST maintain an historical context. It just hasn’t been that long.

I agree with Xntrk ONLY in that I don’t believe that Jesse Jackson was ever up to the task of President, just because of ALL that it involves to do it properly. His son may be, and soon. He’s already quite promising.

I disagree with the rest, because Obama DOES have it. Oh yes. That’s really the point. Of course he can only get better and become wiser over time, because that’s what people like him do. Would that we ALL could keep growing, at least intellectually and spiritually.

Now mackTN, I know about seeing trees where there weren’t any before, and you’re not the only one that’s happened to today. So, it might not be the Alzheimer’s. (let’s hope). In fact, I did some extra errands today, on top of my standard mingling in with the community here, and EVERYONE I’ve come into contact with today, has mentioned some similar experience…a ‘New Attitude’.

Some describe it as an overall sense of relief, and that stretches all the way to actual ‘hope’ in many folks as well. I was actually sort of surprised to find the sentiment so widespread and quite visible/audible. In fact, most folks seem to feel really comfortable with their votes. Others (like me) are downright giddy.

That’s NOT to deny the incredibly difficult job that he is undertaking…more than any other president aside from FDR. But if nothing else happens in the first term of Obama’s administration besides STOPPING the terror, that would be OK with me. Still, I’m sure he’ll do far more than that.

I think he should start by widely publishing ALL of the Executive Orders of the last 3 decades at least. (but for sure, the last 8 years). Then, he should promptly write a whole bunch himself, to restore our constitution. The MCA goes first, but I can think of a whole bunch of stuff for him to overturn, or at least set it up to be accomplished by Congress.

Meantime, I share some of Jesse Jackson’s joy and the other indescribable feelings that come from this oh so historical event. I didn’t get to hear the video, (no sound on this computer - maybe Obama could hook me up with a new one or a pre-owned one) but I understood his wordless tears quite well. Jesse was probably among others from his generation and the CRM, who were afraid for Obama to run. Just didn’t think it was safe, or that the US was ready. (The rest of the world is WAY ahead of us on this..or at least they were).

But, now he knows that they are, and this is the proof, and that makes it real. We know that we’ll never erase racism entirely. That’s not real. But to have come this distance in the time of Rev Jackson’s own life, (as well as mine) is a huge thing.

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By mackTN, November 5, 2008 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
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i think those who embrace obama as, in part, a repudiation of jackson & sharpton disrespect american history.  JJ was shaped by different forces and that time in our history has been most of his life than the past 2 years of the obama campaign. 

Think for a moment how complicated and intense the black experience has been even over my 57 years.  Without the early soldiers of the civil rights movement, those who did the fighting everyday while i went to school and went to work, we would not be here. laws might not have changed, the country might not be the evolved democracy it is.

Jackson still fights views and policies that are dissapearing.  Even I have caught myself advising my son on the basis of experiences we don,t share have never shared.

For many boomers, this is stunning to process—so far from the difficult, oftenpainful world we grew up in.  I myself feel like I’ve been transported to a new country,  All of a sudden I see trees where none existed before.  Itls probably how people feel at the start of alzheimers. 

Let,s show Jackson a little compassion in his winter years.  Nothing about his life was ever routine or predictable.  He’ll now defer to his son with regard to political matters.

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By Xntrk, November 5, 2008 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In 1988 I was a Dukakis Delegate in Atlanta. Most of my friends were Jackson Delegates. I made my decision between the 2 candidates, based on how I saw them: First, Michael Dukakis was, and is, an incorruptibly honest man. Coming after 8 years of Reagan/Bush 1 that was a major consideration.

Twenty years later, after surviving Bush, Clinton, and another Bush, you have to imagine how different the world might be if we had had an honest man in the White House for even one term…

The Rainbow Coalition and Jesse Jackson had great emotional appeal to the Liberal, Progressive, Left-Wing of the Democratic Party. Carter had avoided us. Mondale knew us by reputation only. They much preferred the White, DLC, monied establishment to a bunch of middle-aged Hippies.

But, IMO, Jesse Jackson was not qualified to be President of the US, even if Wishes became Horses. In some respects, he occupied the same niche as Palin: Emotional favorite, great crowd pleaser, and certainly turned on the Base; But not easy to imagine as the head of the government.

I watched Jackson address the Convention from the overflow hall [Dukakis Delegates gave up their seats so the Jackson Alternates could be in the hall]. I sat at a round table surrounded by black delegates - many for Dukakis, who were there to cheer for Jackson. When they decided I wasn’t anti-black, but anti-Jackson, we got along fine. In fact, we drank a bunch of wine and wound up at a jazz club after the program ended.

This year I found myself once again debating the qualifications and emotional appeal of a Black Candidate. And, for many of the same reasons as 1988, I made a choice I am not all that happy with.

I think Obama is highly qualified to be President, but I find him politically as appealing as Bill Clinton and Al Gore. He sure as hell doesn’t energize the ‘base’.

I voted for him because of what and who he might become, not the person he is today. I hope he is as educable as he appears.

Bobby Kennedy was a great man because he had a huge capacity for growth and change. I am hoping that Obama shares that talent! Listening to Jesse Jackson, I think we may be on the same page this time…

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By Blackspeare, November 5, 2008 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

We can only hope that the right reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are sidelined when it comes to being any part of BHO’s administration.  These two characters use their position of pseudo-clergy to hide income and browbeat adversaries.  Their respective organizations are nothing more than bunco operations shaking down donations from businesses who can expect serious retribution if contributions are not sufficient——its nothing more than than racketeering.

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