Americans of many religious backgrounds could recognize in Dr. King’s powerful and evocative words the echoes of the Hebrew Prophet Amos. That cry for justice enabled millions of Americans to keep their eyes on the prize. Jews and Christians came together to amplify Dr. King’s call for an end to the injustice of segregation.
By seizing the leadership of the Civil Rights movement after Dr. King’s brutal assassination, Jesse Jackson steered it into new and uncharted currents. We might recall—and deplore—the fact that Jesse Jackson was the first candidate for President in the Democratic Party who was openly anti-Semitic. He referred to New York City as “Hymietown.”
He immediately apologized, of course, and his apology was instantly accepted by a craven journalistic elite. But Jesse Jackson continued to be a fellow traveler with those who made anti-Semitism their stock in trade.
He might have remembered the warning given by Winston Churchill to Nazi Party party boy, “Putzi” Hanfstaengel in Munich. “Tell your fürer for me: anti-Semitism may be a good starter, but it’s a bad finisher.” Hitler never agreed to meet Churchill.
But there’s hardly a Mideast Jew-hater with whom Mr. Jackson has not met.
This is a tragedy for Jesse Jackson and for the country. His great gifts of oratory and leadership have been squandered. He traded in his birthright for a mess of pottage, as Scripture says.
Let us hope that Mr. Jackson will see the light. He can say, as we hope we all can say, “the Lord is not finished with me yet.” Jesse Jackson can turn around. He can yet become of respected voice for Christian truth in a confused world. He is, after all, a reverend.
He speaks eloquently of his grandmother’s quilt. In the telling and re-telling, that old quilt becomes like Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors.
None of the patches was big enough to cover us by itself. All the patches needed all the other patches to keep us warm.
Rev. Jackson tells this story to urge liberals to unite, to ward off the night’s cold. But it applies to our stricken country, as well. That grandmother’s quilt is evidence of an old woman’s love and her care for her family. Become a voice for families, Jesse Jackson, and you can restore the moral authority you once had.
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