SHARPTON & JACKSON: A BIGOTRY DUET

Boston columnist Mike Barnicle was right recently when he said the reaction to Don Imus’s inappropriate remarks has included a “tsunami of hypocrisy.”

But before I get to that, let me first apologize to my readers and retract any positive words I wrote about Reverend Al Sharpton in the previous blog entry.

Watching Sharpton over the past couple of days and doing a bit of research into Sharpton’s past, it is clear he has no right to the title Reverend, unless, of course, you are one who believes a racist and anti-Semite can be a Christian minister.

Consider the following.

1) Sharpton was found civilly liable for falsely implicating a Dutchess County New York attorney in the rape (which never occurred) of Tawana Brawley. The whole fiasco was determined to be a hoax. Sharpton has never apologized to the attorney and still refuses to do so.

2) During a 1991 crisis in New York City’s Crown Heights, Sharpton said, “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.” Again, he never apologized.

3) During a landlord-tenant dispute involving a Jewish-owned store in Harlem, the Wall Street Journal reported on February 29, 2000, that “Mr. Sharpton was even more malevolent. He turned (the) dispute between the Jewish owner of Freddy’s and a black subtenant into a theater of hatred. Picketers from Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network, sometimes joined by (Sharpton) himself, marched daily outside the store, screaming about “bloodsucking Jews” and “Jew bastards” and threatening to burn the building down.

After weeks of increasingly violent rhetoric, one of the protesters, Roland Smith, took Mr. Sharpton’s words about ousting the “white interloper” to heart. He ran into the store shouting, “It’s on!” He shot and wounded three whites and a Pakistani, whom he apparently mistook for a Jew. Then he set the fire, which killed five Hispanics, one Guyanese and one African-American–a security guard whom protesters had taunted as a “cracker lover.” Smith then fatally shot himself.”

Eight people dead, and no apology from Sharpton.

And so here is Sharpton, along with Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson passing judgement on Don Imus. Sharpton and Jackson clearly make their bed with the poisonous sheets of bigotry and hypocrisy. It has been a long time since either man has been in the same room with honor and integrity, although, I suspect when he was a younger man working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jackson knew honor and integrity well.

CBS and NBC’s claim that they fired Don Imus because they care about the way women and black Americans are treated is, well, a lie. It’s about sponsors and money. Neither network nor their parent companies are free of misogyny and bigotry in their offerings. Given the fact both networks gave Jackson and Sharpton an audience, one wonders why they didn’t they didn’t invite Mel Gibson to the meeting. And given Sharpton and Jackson’s bigoted behavior, why would they give either man airtime if their commitment to healing the public airways was genuine?

Now we have Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in the mix. Here is someone who knowingly promoted a distortion of truth that led to a war that thus far has cost more than 3,000 American lives and untold thousands of Iraqi lives. The fact she thought to comment on Mr. Imus makes a despicable thought look like an act of purity and honor.

Meanwhile, Don Imus has accepted, without excuses, responsibility for his behavior. He has met with and received forgiveness from the gracious and remarkable women on the Rutgers basketball team. He has been talking nearly daily with Reverend Deforest Soaries, the extraordinary man who facilitated the meeting between Mr. Imus and the Rutgers players.

Told today that Sharpton and Jackson said they hadn’t forgiven Mr. Imus, Reverend Soaries put it all in perspective. He said, “Where there is no forgiveness, there is no Christianity.”

May God bless Reverend Deforest Soaries, the women from Rutgers and Don Imus. May God help Sharpton, Jackson, CBS and NBC.

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