Rev. Jesse Jackson on Principles & Values

Apologized for calling NYC “Hymietown”

Jackson’s standing as a moral & humanitarian leader was severely undercut by Jackson’s reference to Jews as “Hymies.” Moreover, his equivocation over the matter and the added comments of Louis Farrakhan served to drag out the issue throughout the entire 1984 presidential campaign.

An article in the Washington Post on Feb. 13, 1984, Rick Atkinson reported Jackson saying, “the most attempts to disrupt this campaign have come from Jewish people.” Toward the end of the article Atkinson states that “In private conversations with reporters, Jackson referred to Jews as ‘Hymie’ and to New York as ‘Hymietown.’ ‘I’m not familiar with that,’ Jackson said. ‘That’s not accurate.’ ”

As the controversy accelerated, Black Muslim minister Farrakhan warned Jews “if you harm this brother, it will be the last one you harm.” From that point on, Jackson had to deal with Farrakhan’s remarks as well as his own.

Jackson eventually condemned Farrakhan’s remarks as “reprehensible and morally indefensible.”

Source: The Search for Common Ground, by Charles Henry, p.102-5 Jul 2, 1991

Was 1988 frontrunner after winning Michigan primary

In early April 1988, Jesse Jackson appeared on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines. Jackson had convincingly won the Michigan primary two weeks earlier. It was his first primary victory in a northern industrial state and gave him the credibility he had been seeking for five years. He could now be considered a “frontrunner.” Following that primary, Jackson led Dukakis in popular votes and was neck and neck with the Massachusetts governor in delegates. And by winning over a quarter of the white vote, Jackson appeared to have broken through the image of him as the “black presidential candidate.”

With one “electrifying” victory Jackson had destroyed the attempt of some Democrats to recast the party in a non-ideological centrist mode. White Democratic leaders were now forced to “take Jackson seriously.” The question “What does Jesse Jackson want?” became a constant refrain.

Source: The Search for Common Ground, by Charles Henry, p.108-11 Jul 2, 1991

Politically progressive: responsibility over victimhood

Jackson is neither a conservative nor a liberal, but a “progressive.” He says, “While I know that the victimizers may be responsible for the victims being down, the victims must be responsible for initiating change, determining strategy, tactics, and timing, and being disciplined enough to pull it off. No one has a greater self-interest than the victims in getting up.”

Jackson stresses the necessity of avoiding drugs and taking the moral responsibility for avoiding things like teenage pregnancy.

Source: The Search for Common Ground, by Charles Henry, p. 45 Jul 2, 1991

Rainbow Coalition: specific groups instead of a melting pot

In the 1984 presidential primary, Jackson attempted to mobilize groups with specific appeals based on the political consciousness of the groups. Minorities and women were appealed to on the basis of their racial and sexual identities, while white males were approached on specific issues such as farm support, or peace.

Jackson is demanding that the Democrats propose a coalition government, not just of interests and regions, but of race-the famous “rainbow coalition” which could remold politics.

Source: The Search for Common Ground, by Charles Henry, p.116-17 Jul 2, 1991

My religion obligates me to be political

Jackson’s candidacy represents a significant expansion of black church-based leadership into the political arena. Jackson states the dynamism of this tradition: “My religion obligates me to be political, to seek to do God’s will and allow the spiritual word to become concrete justice and dwell among us. Religion should use you politically to do public service. Politics should not misuse religion. When the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us, that’s called good religion.“

The religious framework of Jackson’s political vision is crucial to Jackson’s overwhelming support in the black community, while limiting his appeal to white voters. Many have focused on the limitations of Jackson’s appeal to this core black constituency while ignoring the remarkable unification of black support around Jackson in 1984 and 1988.

Source: The Search for Common Ground, by Charles Henry, p. 37 Jul 2, 1991

Choose the human race over the nuclear race

This is not a perfect party. We are not a perfect people. Yet, we are called to a perfect mission: our mission to feed the hungry; to clothe the naked; to house the homeless; to teach the illiterate; to provide jobs for the jobless; and to choose the human race over the nuclear race. We are gathered here this week to nominate a candidate and adopt a platform which will expand, unify, direct and inspire our Party and the Nation to fulfill this mission.

My constituency is the desperate, the damned, the disinherited, the disrespected, and the despised. They are restless and seek relief. They’ve voted in record numbers. They have invested faith, hope and trust that they have in us. The Democratic Party must send them a signal that we care. I pledge my best to not let them down.

There is the call of conscience, redemption, expansion, healing and unity. Leadership must heed the call of conscience, redemption, expansion, healing and unity, for they are the key to achieving our mission.

Source: Address to the Democratic Convention Jul 17, 1984

Rainbow coalition: Don’t leave anybody out

Our flag is red, white and blue, but our nation is a rainbow - red, yellow, brown, black and white - and we’re all precious in God’s sight. We must heal and expand. The Rainbow Coalition is making room for Arab Americans. They, too, know the pain and hurt of racial and religious rejection. They must not continue to be made pariahs. The Rainbow is making room for the Native American, the most exploited people of all, a people with the greatest moral claim amongst us. We support them as they seek the restoration of their ancient land and claim amongst us. The Rainbow includes disabled veterans. The disabled have their handicap revealed and their genius concealed; while the able-bodied have their genius revealed and their disability concealed. But ultimately, we must judge people by their values and their contribution. Don’t leave anybody out. The Rainbow includes lesbians and gays. No American citizen ought to be denied equal protection from the law.
Source: Address to the Democratic Convention Jul 17, 1984

America is a patchwork quilt, not all the same texture

America is not like a blanket - one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size. America is more like a quilt - many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread. The white, the Hispanic, the black, the Arab, the Jew, the woman, the native American, the small farmer, the businessperson, the environmentalist, the peace activist, the young, the old, the lesbian, the gay and the disabled make up the American quilt.
Source: Address to the Democratic Convention Jul 17, 1984

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Rev. Jesse Jackson on other issues:
John Ashcroft
Pat Buchanan
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton (D,NY)
Elizabeth Dole
Steve Forbes
Rudy Giuliani (R,NYC)
Al Gore
Alan Keyes
John McCain (R,AZ)
Ralph Nader
Ross Perot
Colin Powell
Jesse Ventura (I,MN)

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