THE GROFF/ELLISON POLITICAL REPORT

On Political “Playa-hate” and verbal gaffes …

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on July 10, 2008

First thing that comes to mind on this recent controversy over Rev. Jackson’s uncensored “private mic” moment on Fox News is that he didn’t learn from previous gaffes and verbal missteps that cost him both politically and personally. It all started with the infamous ‘Hymietown’ about Jewish political influence in New York during his first Presidential bid and his legacy began to hit numerous bumps in the road from that point on.

Despite the snafus and the controversy – he will never fully recover from the scandal involving the use of Rainbow/PUSH funds to pay support to a former young mistress and out-of-wedlock child – Jackson still retains a tremendous amount of respect as a civil rights icon. But, what we’re seeing here is an enormous amount of frustration expressed by him and others in the civil rights vanguard who are struggling to find relevancy in the 21st century. They are feeling voiceless and pushed to the sidelines by this ‘new school’ Black politics personified by Obama and others. Jackson has only given lukewarm support for Sen. Obama, at best, and much of that is due to very public and heated pressure from a bitter son and Obama co-chair, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Publicly, Rev. Jackson states that he has issues with Sen. Obama’s perceived lack of an ‘urban agenda’ or a major ‘civil rights’ platform. But, in reality, one senses a bit of generational tension and ‘playa hate,’ a resentment of being left out of something bigger than him. The irony is that not only is Jackson’s legacy still somewhat intact, but there’s no reason for the tension since he fought for this moment to arrive. This will be a non-issue by week’s end, since Obama is insulated from it by Jackson, Jr.’s very immediate and harsh condemnation of his father’s comment. But, it risks further marginalizing Rev. Jackson in ways beyond his control. That is rather unfortunate considering the history.

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