Thursday, July 10, 2008

Potomac-Land apology

Even Jesse Jackson apologizes. This is an incident which provides a glaring contrasts between generations. Story headline is Jesse Jackson Apologizes for Remarks on Obama.

Mr. Jackson, before an interview with a Fox News anchor on a different topic, sharply criticized Mr. Obama for how he has been referring to African-Americans. He specifically took issue with how Mr. Obama had singled out black men in recent speeches for failing to uphold their responsibility as fathers.

Jackson is in his sixties, Obama in his forties. But more than age, it is a generational outlook and attitude that is at play here: Jesse comes from the Civil Rights struggle, from Operation PUSH, from when black people had to fight for their rights; Barack comes from the post-Civil Rights age, and is a politician who is running for president and has a serious chance to win.

Mr. Jackson, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, has been a supporter of Mr. Obama. He has played no formal role in the campaign, but tensions have occasionally flared behind the scenes with Mr. Jackson, who is known for his outspokenness and his penchant for drawing attention to himself.

That last phrase is key: perhaps there is an element of jealousy at play: Jesse always had to be the center of attention, and is not now.

Mr. Obama’s candidacy has served as an example of a generational and stylistic shift in black political leadership in America. The remarks drew an unusually stern rebuke from Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., Democrat of Illinois, who also serves as a national co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign.

“Reverend Jackson is my dad, and I’ll always love him,” the congressman said Wednesday evening in a statement. He added, “I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric. He should keep hope alive and any personal attacks and insults to himself.”

That is a stinging rebuke. Deserved.

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