Gentle Reminder: Jesse Jackson Isn’t Running For President

Leave a comment

Amusing as it may be to play the “the liberal media is going after Herman Cain” card when it comes to the allegations recently made against Jesse Jackson, it is also prudent to remember one incredibly important fact:  Jesse Jackson isn’t running for President.  Let’s also be honest about something else:  if he were running for President, you better believe that liberals and conservatives alike would, in their own way, go after him for his numerous failings as a “moral person.”  Jackson is not unfamiliar to the controversy bucket, as his 1984 comments about Jews (shortly after losing the Presidential ticket) and his numerous infidelities make clear.  And I think his history makes him unlikely as a legitimate Democratic candidate for the Presidency in the future.

Of course, The Huffington Post did report on the incident.  But I suppose we can just pretend they aren’t part of the “liberal media” or the “media” in general.  Ever so insignificant that Huffington Post… In any case, the predominately right-leaning base will take this oversight as an indictment
of the evil liberal media and its evil ways of leaving out the truth.  This great conspiracy theory falls apart when you actually look at who comprises the liberal media:  corporate-owned, largely conservative agencies who are no more liberals than their right-leaning counterparts.

 While such agencies may espouse liberal values, they do so only by paying lip-service to them, for the moment any challenge comes to the conservative elite, those very agencies flip over like dogs begging to be scratched and pounce on their liberal audience.  We know this because various “liberal” papers supported the Bush post-9/11 narrative in order to justify gross human rights violations — they did so by changing the language they used to describe “torture.”  We know this because the way the Occupy Everywhere protesters have been presented by almost all of the major news outlets has been less favorable than similar coverage by media sources from elsewhere, often at the expense of the messages actually being presented by OWS and her allies.  This is because OE represents a threat to the establishment, who owns most of the so called “liberal media” and is quite apt at putting pressure where it needs to be in order to keep the narrative peddled by the media as divisive, entertaining, and supportive of the status quo as possible.

And that’s really where all this rests:  talking about who is a liberal and who is a conservative and who has the right narrative, blah blah blah, is all a giant game of ideology that serves no other purpose than to keep people nipping at one another’s throats.  The truth of matter is that very little “truth” gets through corporate media.  If you want to see what’s going on in the world, you have to go to independent media sources, or the rare corporate media source that doesn’t have its hands caught in the cookie jar (I would look at The Guardian as one such source).

But to return to the original point:  why is Herman Cain getting the shaft and Jesse Jackson a pass?

  1. Herman Cain is running for President.  I can’t say whether Cain is innocent of the charges, but it goes without saying that a Presidential hopeful should be subject to public scrutiny.  This includes Obama, who I will undoubtedly criticize throughout the next year in my evil liberal circles.  But since Jesse Jackson is not running for President, and remains little more than an activist whose core values are really hard to disagree with (justice for people of color, etc.), I really don’t see the point in putting Cain and Jackson on the same public pedestal.
  2. Cain has a tendency to shove his foot in his mouth whenever he talks, which makes challenging him on allegations of sexual harassment all the more important.  Any candidate who cannot keep his narrative straight deserves the kind of scrutiny Cain is getting.  Did Cain know about the settlement or not?  Should abortion be illegal or a choice?  Whose fault is it for the high unemployment rate — those without jobs or the system?  I could go on, but I think the point is made.  I have the same misgivings about Romney and Perry, whose rambling and flip-flopping make it rather difficult to determine where they actually stand.  And I have the same misgivings about Obama, who I think betrayed his progressive base by cowering before the opposition.
  3. Jackson isn’t really getting a pass.  Plenty of news sources are covering the incident.  But the truth is that very few people actually care.  That’s not because Jackson is unimportant in a general sense.  It’s that he’s unimportant when compared to the vast array of problems and events happening all around us.  Are we really concerned with whether Jackson fondled someone’s testicles or whether Presidential hopeful Cain sexually harassed a woman, or whether the economy will bounce back or Obama’s Jobs Bill will get passed (and if it will be good for us), or whether Occupy Wall Street will effect any changes (or if it is really bad for the country), or whether the Arab Spring will produce good results in the Middle East, or whether we’ll withdraw troops from Iraq or Afghanistan, and so on and so forth.
If you honestly think Jackson’s discrimination against a gay man is more important than those other questions, then your priorities are out of sync.  And that’s okay, so long as you admit that you are governed by your biases and not by a need to see the big questions asked and addressed on the national stage.  It’s not like talking about the case publicly is going to change whether Jackson gets charged with sexual harassment or not.
For now, let’s be honest.  Jackson doesn’t matter.  He’s not going to make the election for Obama.  He’s not going to make the election for Cain.  He’s not going to damage the Democrats anymore than their failure to act.  In the long run, we’ll forget about Jackson because he doesn’t really matter right now.  There are bigger, more pressing concerns to consider.
So instead of playing the silly game of whose out to get whom, let’s move on to talk about stuff that actually matters.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

Leave a Reply