Jesse Jackson meets a man

Up this morning working on my scripts (or, as it currently appears, not working on them), and read an item in the Wall Street Journal online that caught my eye.

I can often be critical here of our politicians, particularly for the lack of godly leadership they exhibit.  However, if I come across something admirable, I want to point that out too.

I do not know Rep. Artur Davis from Alabama, and if I did his politics might excite me or repulse me — I cannot say.  But Davis, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was the only CBC member to vote against the House’s recent “Health Care” bill.  I’m not a fan of many of the provisions of that bill, but I’m not writing this to discuss his political stance; I have no idea why he did not vote for it and it may have been out of sheer political calculation for all I know.

However, he was attacked recently by Jesse Jackson (note: I will never use the word “Reverend” before that man’s name) at a reception on Capitol Hill, where Jackson said, “We even have blacks voting against the health care bill… You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a black man.”

Rather than defend their colleague and uphold Martin Luther King Jr’s dream of a society where people are judged by their character rather than by the color of their skin, apparently some simply rolled over and excused Jackson’s shameful comment.

However, to Mr. Davis’ credit, he responded respectfully and deferentially, according to the WSJ:

For his part, Mr. Davis declined to get into a spitting contest. “One of the reasons that I like and admire Rev. Jesse Jackson is that 21 years ago he inspired the idea that a black politician would not be judged simply as a black leader,” he said in a statement. “The best way to honor Rev. Jackson’s legacy is to decline to engage in an argument with him that begins and ends with race.”

Kudos to Mr. Davis.  I know from personal experience that heeding the admonition of Proverbs 20:3 and balancing the advice of Proverbs 26:4-5 is no small feat.  And I do not know all that has gone into Mr. Davis’ decision to respond as he did, but regardless of color I would say that the incident indicates which individual — Mr. Jackson or Mr. Davis — is truly able to call himself a man.

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[UPDATE: Apparently, I have mentioned Mr. Artur Davis in this blog, before: “Tip of the hat to Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama” on 10/7/2008.  If his actions are an indicator of his character as opposed to pure calculation, they are good signs.]

3 thoughts on “Jesse Jackson meets a man

  1. Norbert

    Sometimes I wonder how difficult it is to be aware of what is being spoken and the implications it may carry with it, even for the most intelligent in the public forefront. That what may be originally intented to be heard as something that reflects the legitimate struggle for justice by a particular segment of society, suddenly becomes something else that is being heard by the public.

    Jesse Jackson would know better what he meant within, “We even have blacks voting against the health care bill… You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a black man.”

    Did he mean:

    ‘We even have men voting against the health care bill… You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a man.’ That such men that do so are now sub-humans within his country? What kind of rights do sub-humans have?

    Or:

    ‘We even have men voting against the health care bill… You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a citizen.’ That these men have become enemies of the state within his country? What kind of rights do enemies of the state have?

    Jesse Jackson knows what he meant, wether it is the people or himself that is sticking his foot in his mouth. However it should be rather sobering, knowing the possiblity of what people may hear can be something different from what could be intended. And that the leadership and ideas of today do influence that of tomorrow.

  2. As the articles may have mentioned, Rep. Davis is leaving Congress at the end of the current term. He’s running for Governor of Alabama — so his vote may (or may not) have had something to do with that campaign.

  3. Howdy, Norbert. Without diminishing the value of your well-made point, let me only say that, given the context, Mr. Jesse Jackson’s intent was clearly communicated: If you are a black man and vote against the Health Care bill, then you are a traitor to your race. His meaning is clear, and it is shameful.

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