Secondly, Jesse Jackson disagreed with how Obama publicly spoke out about parental and family responsibility on Father’s Day. Like many black liberals, he wants to continue the rhetoric of blame and guilt projection, instead of seeking practical solutions. Obama is not a civil rights leader. He is simply a savvy politician who has mastered the art of saying in his own words the famous Bill Clinton mantra – “I feel your pain.”
Jesse Jackson’s fall was a tremendous gift to Senator Obama’s campaign. It answers a question that many Hispanics and other ethnic groups have asked themselves behind closed doors. Will black advocacy and civil rights be a major priority of an Obama presidency? Will he be the president of all the people – a leader that happens to be black? Many have already concluded that he would just be a black politician held hostage to an agenda of the major voting block that got him into office. It’s a new day in race relations and the political world. Things have changed. Barak Obama understands that he and his party must bring a little substance if he is going to get the continued support of blacks. I am sure the Obama campaign is shouting, “The King is dead!” Unfortunately, we cannot yet say, “Long Live the King!” because he has not yet been crowned.
The leaders of both major political parties in this country tended to ignore the black voters until the last six weeks of a campaign season. Consequently, many black voters have historically felt like the other woman in an illicit affair. We’re jostled from place to place and forced to wait in the shadows. Many promises were made but few were kept. While both Republican and Democratic Parties have been married to others with more money and influence, they still came on tiptoe to our door at midnight. Loved only for what we can give, black voters today are beginning to ask, “At what price have I been selling my love?”
Fortunately, there’s a new voice that is helping to call the black electorate back from that adulterous affair. The new black church is speaking out as never before, assisting the black community to rise above the exploitation of the past by reconsidering her longstanding and tawdry affair with the Democratic Party. The affair is over. The black church has denied and dethroned Jackson decades ago. The dishonor of this week’s comments has now brought to light what we have already known. So let’s seize our moment and challenge this year’s candidates to our moral agenda.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.