Niagara Gazette

October 18, 2012

HAMILTON: Where is Jesse Jackson in this campaign?

By Ken Hamilton
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Why is it that no one has seen or heard of Jesse Jackson out campaigning for the reelection of President Barack Obama?

Could it be that his years of successfully teaching black people to vote for the Democrat, especially if it is a black Democrat, has paid off and that it is not necessary for him to do so; or because Obama doesn’t want him to do so in Obama’s ‘post racial’ America — or is it simply because he is not truly supporting Obama?

I suggest the latter.

Obama’s Justice Department is currently investigating ailing congressman and namesake son of the civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson Jr. for allegedly trying to purchase the president’s former Illinois federal Senate seat; the same seat for which they put Rod Blagojevich in jail for so doing. The senior Jackson would prefer that his son does not become Blago’s cellmate. But why is the Justice Department now investigating Jackson at election time? Are they trying to portrait Obama as truly “post-racial”, as he has self-proclaimed America to be — and that there is no better way of demonstrating him as such than for them to find a high-profile black person to prove that both we and he are indeed post-racial?

I am sure that his support given to Latinos and gays contrasted with Obama’s lack of carrying out anything remotely similar to a “black agenda” has angered Jackson, as well as many other blacks who are not too ashamed to admit it.

Furthermore, Jackson is probably still stinging from the snubbing he’s gotten from his fellow Chicagoan in not even being offered a position as an ambassador — despite Jackson’s 1983 proven ability to negotiate with Syrian President Bashar al- Assad to free Navy Lt. Robert O. Goodman, who was shot down over Syria doing exactly what Assad’s own air force is doing to his own country. Based on that event, one has to wonder where Syria would be today, if Jackson was our ambassador to that country.

Such things would bother anyone who has done so much for a cause, and then have the manifestation of his work only relegate him to the political ash heap.

While former President Clinton did little-to-nothing for Jackson either — despite the millions of people that Jackson caused to register and vote for the president, Jackson still actively campaigned for Clinton’s reelection in 1996 despite Clinton signing a welfare bill that Jackson labeled as a Machiavellian calculation that would get Clinton the votes of those millions of white “soccer moms” who would put family economics above their gender issues. Jackson believed that this was done at the risk of reducing social services payments to millions of black women and children, and would eventually get them “thrown out into the streets.”

Clinton promised to go back and fix the flaws in that bill later — but it didn’t happen.

According to the Old Oxford Dictionary, a Machiavellian is one who employs cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct; and that is how Jackson saw Clinton, in that Clinton knew that blacks would not, in turn, give their vote to the Republicans in retaliation. He has not said if he see Obama the same way? I am sure that Jackson’s thought-to-be off-mic remark about castrating the then presidential candidate Obama didn’t win any friends in the Obama camp, but it didn’t stop Jackson from not only actively campaigning for Obama, Jackson even wept for joy, though as a member of the audience, when the two of them stood in Chicago’s Grant Park, with Obama standing on stage as the President-Elect of the United States of America.

But is he weeping tears of joy now? Homey don’t think so.

Should African-Americans give Obama another four years to work on a post-racial agenda, when Obama said, himself, in a recent BET interview that it would another 12-15 years before such a thing can happen?

Professor James Gordon, who teaches history at Central Michigan University, has somewhat mixed-feelings about it.

While Gordon acknowledges Obama’s shortfalls and lack of attention to the 95-plus percent of blacks that are expected to vote for Obama — if they come out to vote at all, it is the ‘if they come out to vote at all’ part that troubles him.

Gordon said that, “It would be a shame if the president loses the election because blacks didn’t bother to come out to vote.”

The tone of our conversation was a bit confusing to me. I am not sure if he would be most disappointed in blacks not reelecting Obama, or that Obama has done so little for blacks that he has not inspired blacks to come out to vote for him; or that, after such a long and hard struggle for the right to vote, blacks didn’t come out to vote one way or the other, which was seemingly Clinton’s reelection strategy?

For me, it doesn’t matter one way or the other. This is New York and Obama will likely win all of the state’s electoral votes, regardless of how anyone in Niagara Falls votes or not vote

But, as Clinton now does, what Jackson once did — campaign around the country for Obama, at least Jackson man’s up and keeps his tears hidden from public view. But surely Jackson’s heart must be broken.

We’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see whose else’s break.

Contact Ken Hamilton at