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Monsters of the Midway: Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan

July 12, 2008

Leon Walker is a TNTalk! contributing writer. You can look for his columns on Saturdays “write here on TNTalk!” To find out more about Leon, check out our writers page.

For years I, and many with whom I am acquainted, have considered the so-called “Reverend” Jesse Jackson somewhat of a nut. His public and personal antics have ranged from racist to immoral and his ridiculous rhyming rhetoric has long been an intellectual irritant to me. That said, he has now descended to the company of examples of the absolute worst in African-American leadership examples. To some degree, light years beyond my shock and horror over his recent comments about Senator Barack Obama, I am heartened by the fact that this may finally cause the American public “and hopefully the media” to acknowledge Jackson’s insignificance as any measure of a credible spokesperson. Jackson is a despicable choice to be held up as a leader of any standard. He is an opportunist like his colleagues Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan. They are snake oil salesmen who use the potent emotional blend of religion and race to beguile and prey on the beleaguered.

There are further and equally troubling impacts. These “Monsters of the Midway” (Jackson, Wright and Farrakhan) have become nothing more than “a few” of the media’s modern day “Willie Hortons”. The subtle media “bogeymen” that make much of America uncomfortable if not (like me) also nauseated and embarrassed. Black demogauges have been paraded as fools in the media for decades as examples of established African American leadership and role models. Shamelessly offered up as the best African- America has to offer. Now suddenly, the bar has been raised. The leadership standard has been “singularly” lifted, and the redefined example of the African-American role model is being presented to a significantly welcoming nation. Thankfully, mercifully, it appears “The Parade of Fools” may be nearing an end.

There must certainly be a “cone of ambiguity” that effects the thinking and judgment of some Black religious leaders in the City of Chicago. In truth this confusion or insanity must certainly extend beyond the leadership in many cases. After all Jackson, Wright and Farrakhan are preaching their twisted ideology to substantial constituencies. And although there is nothing particularly enlightening in these comments it is clear from these pathetic examples that “some” people will respond to words and accept leadership of nearly any sort. History has presented many startling examples of this. Believe me when I tell you that Jackson, Wright and Farrakhan (and others) know this well.

I don’t dare wander into examples of what others of different races have said or done as poor examples in public or private life. The topic that was at the root of this controversy “fatherhood” this leadership backstabbing example (for the purposes of this writing) is not exclusively a “Black Thing”. The problem: “fragmented, flawed and antiquated leadership” within the African-American Community that has sadly enjoyed long life.

African-American leadership has become notorious for conducting themselves as crabs in a basket. Capitalizing on opportunities to pull each other down rather than to allow any to escape to a higher level of success. Even when marvelous results could be achieved for the many. Divisions of power are the weapons of choice and individual greed, self promotion, reckless pride and power, continually poison significant efforts to create broad and effective initiatives across the African-American Community. To each demagogue, his tiny kingdom with its peasants and surfs, lords and ladies. Fiefdoms that contribute handsomely to their comfortable life styles while much of African-America wallows in all measure of despair. Why, because these so-called leaders, these demagogues are no more sincerely committed or connected to the broad nation of African-American needs than is George W. Bush or John McCain are to the needs of any common hard working American.

If after nearly eight years, George W. Bush is responsible for the state of this nation today then most certainly our African-American Leadership must bear some responsibility for the state of Blacks in this nation today. If America has suffered with Bush for nearly eight years and the country is in such a dismal state is he not clearly deserving of some measure of blame? It follows then, that if African-Americans, under the professed and acknowledged leadership of Jackson, Farrakhan and Wright (and others) “for decades” have found themselves is such a generally dismal state; are not these so-called leaders to be appropriately credited. After all, they have allowed the media to hold them up as the faces and voices of Black America. They have come forth with answers to the endless unanswerable social questions. They have created numerous failed programs (in many cases at public expense) and they have spewed antique logics for decades. Clearly losing touch with the pulse of the nation as a whole and the elevated visions of African Americans with regard to their refreshed community image. And if votes are an appropriate measuring instrument Blacks have resoundingly demonstrated their choice of a new leadership model.

We have realized something of incredible historical significance in this Presidential Campaign season. And should Senator Obama become this nations next President, this writer believes the nation as a whole will become benefactor of many “marvelous intangibles”. Trust, respect and a commitment to a standard of equity and a new “trans-racialism” that has never been so clearly emblazoned on this nation or the world. As for further “change” beyond the “marvelous intangibles” we will just have to wait and see.

So what will become of the “Monsters of the Midway”? They will cling to life as does a Trade Union that has out lived its usefulness, victimizing and short changing their constituency through now ancient and myopic ideology.

Or… maybe the Chicago Bears could use a few more tackling dummies.

L. A. Walker, © Leon A. Walker

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