The Rev. Jesse Jackson is known worldwide for his protesting of what he deems racial injustice – and which sometimes has been just that.
But has anyone ever seen or heard of him in any demonstrating or protests against the racially segregated Congressional Black Caucus?
That outrageous organization has rejected entrance applications from members of Congress with a substantial number of black constituents – because the color of their skin shade is insufficiently dark.
That led to the following 2007 Politico headline: “Black Caucus: Whites Not Allowed,” which reported the following:
“As a white liberal running in a majority African-American district, Tennessee Democrat Stephen I. Cohen made a novel pledge on the campaign trail last year: If elected, he would seek to become the first white member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“Now that he’s a freshman in Congress, Cohen has changed his plans. He said he has dropped his bid after several current and former caucus members made it clear to him that whites need not apply. …
“Cohen said he became convinced that joining the caucus would be ‘a social faux pas’ after seeing news reports that former Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr., D-Mo., a co-founder of the caucus, had circulated a memo telling members it was ‘critical’ that the group remain ‘exclusively African-American.’ …
“Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who is white, tried in 1975 when he was a sophomore representative and the group was only six years old.
“‘Half my Democratic constituents were African-American. I felt we had interests in common as far as helping people in poverty,’ Stark said. ‘They had a vote, and I lost. They said the issue was that I was white, and they felt it was important that the group be limited to African-Americans.’”
That was five years ago.
Has anyone in these closing months of 2012 seen or heard any Congressional Black Caucus express support of the Rev., Jesse Jackson’s son, just resigned congressman from Illinois, the honorable Jesse Jackson Jr.?
On Nov. 25, under the New York Times headline, “A Family Business in Disarray,” reporter Monica Davey wrote the following, datelined Chicago:
“Over the years, Mr. Jackson, 71, who has a fondness for staring into the lens of a television camera, has jetted to tense locales around the world to negotiate the release of hostages. When President Clinton’s White House was engulfed in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Mr. Jackson showed up to offer spiritual guidance, including some advice he described to a reporter at the time: ‘Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut. And don’t panic.’
“Recently, Mr. Jackson marched in the rain, and was arrested, with workers losing their jobs in Freeport, Ill. He popped up in Baltimore to oppose plans for a youth detention facility. And he appeared in Cincinnati just before Election Day, denouncing long lines as proof of repress-the-vote tactics.
“For all his mastery at inserting himself into and shaping a story line, though, he appears less sure how to cope with a crisis much closer to home: Mr. Jackson’s oldest and namesake son, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., has vanished from public view, grappling for months with bipolar disorder. He is also the subject of a federal criminal investigation, and he announced on Wednesday that he would be resigning his seat in Congress less than three weeks after he won re-election.
“On the topic of his son, the elder Mr. Jackson seems for once to be without a clever phrase to crystallize a situation, and at one point this summer slipped away from reporters through the back kitchen of a hotel. When he has spoken of his son, his words lack their usual staccato sharpness.
“‘He will get well in time, but it’s not the kind of illness where you can put a timetable on it,’ a subdued Mr. Jackson told reporters outside his home here following the resignation. ‘If you’re bleeding, you get a Band-Aid. If you break a leg, you get a splint. With this kind of internal, unresolved challenge, you have to take the time, and the environment.’
“Frank Watkins, an aide to the younger Mr. Jackson since he was first elected to Congress almost two decades ago and a colleague of his father long before that, said, ‘I see confusion.’ He described the father as ‘not knowing what to do relative to mental health, especially as it pertains to his own son – and kind of at a loss.’
“Former Rep. Jackson, 47, whose whereabouts was not disclosed last week, could not be reached for comment. Requests for an interview with the elder Mr. Jackson went unanswered. ..
“[A] House Ethics Committee opened an investigation, and the federal investigation into Mr. Blagojevich also turned up reports of an extramarital relationship of Mr. Jackson with a Washington restaurant hostess. That echoed revelations from 2001, when the elder Mr. Jackson acknowledged fathering a child outside of his marriage.
“This summer, the younger Mr. Jackson went missing from Congress. His office explained that he was suffering from exhaustion, but weeks later disclosed that he was being treated for bipolar II depression, a condition that his associates say may have been exacerbated by weight-loss surgery in 2004, which changed the way his body absorbs medication.
“Adding to his troubles, federal authorities had started a criminal investigation into Rep. Jackson’s campaign fund and, according to published reports, whether that money was used to decorate the family’s home. Last week, Mr. Jackson indicated that he was cooperating with investigators, and his lawyers said they hoped ‘to negotiate a fair resolution’ of the situation. …
“A close family associate said the elder Mr. Jackson had been trying, without much success, to control the media’s coverage of his son.”
On Nov. 21, ABC News had the following headline:
“Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Resignation Could Cost Taxpayers $5.1 Million.”
This begs the question as to why this Democratic congressman – who had not been in Washington for months – failed to resign before the election. Astoundingly, absentee Jackson was able to defeat Republican lawyer Brian Woodworth and win 63 percent of the vote.
Actually, not so astounding, considering this second district election of 1994 of “Swell Mel” Reynolds, indicted for sexual assault, child pornography and obstruction of justice. And Reynolds’ predecessor, Gus Savage, against whom allegations of sexual misconduct toward a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, condemned his behavior but did not recommend punishment, citing Savage’s apology to the volunteer. (Savage blamed everything on what he termed “the white racist press.”)
Possibly Jesse Jr. thinks that even absentee winning of a big majority vote might stave off those criminal charges of misuse of campaign funds.