The problem isn't that Sharpton is comfortable with himself, although he shouldn't be. The problem is that so many others who claim to revere racial harmony, rhetorical civility and the truth are comfortable with Sharpton. Swap races, and imagine a white activist making a career out of falsely accusing blacks of rapes, leading marches that caused mentally unstable whites to kill in fits of rage. Does that reversed composite sound like great hosting material for "Saturday Night Live"? Who next, Lorne Michaels? Abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph? I bet he's "comfortable with himself," too.
Nobody should pretend that NBC isn't enabling Sharpton to gain a higher political profile and greater credibility for himself. Ask Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley, who hoped his comedian's platform leads to better things: "He's raising his profile so when he's raising issues of vital concern to real voters, people will listen. What Sharpton is doing is what the other candidates should be doing, too. He's knocking down the fear. He's making people see him in (a) new light. The more he connects, the greater impact he'll have." She thinks NBC has allowed Al Charlatan to show he's "a funny, astute, well-meaning guy."
Sharpton's lying manipulation of the Tawana Brawley hoax was not funny, or astute or well-meaning. Neither were the deaths that spilled out of his "no justice, no peace" street provocations. For "Saturday Night Live" and most of the chuckle-head political culture, livening up dreadful Democratic debates absolves all the horror. There is no need for unrepentant Rev. Sharpton to repent, because no one remembers what he has done.
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