Where Jesse Jackson Sees Best
By Tom Kamara
December 15, 2000

African-Americans are agonizing over their blatant disenfranchisement in Florida long after believing that the era when they were considered non-persons was over. And as usual, there are few living men in America capable of representing and advocating their public cause than the tireless activist Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The people, not the Supreme Court, are the supreme arbiters regarding who is President of the world's most powerful country, he said during a demonstration protesting the Court's decision barring the counting of votes in heavily black areas and thus handing the presidency to George W. Bush even if the people's voice may have spoken differently.

Rev. Jackson's activist politics, now receding among contemporary African-Americans, is a refreshing commitment to the ideals that have won them the vote and many other rights. Many African-Americans enjoying suffrage, forget about the Florida cheating, may not fully appreciate the burdens carried by men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rev. Jackson, etc., to ensure their equality in white America. But unfortunately, men like Jackson have not used their Civil Rights lenses in looking at events in other parts of the world where civil rights and very basic freedoms are grossly lacking. Because events elsewhere impact less on them, they have opted for double standards and arguably self-interest. But what the farce of the American election has done is to open eyes elsewhere. No more will American election "Jesus Christs" roam the world unchallenged in deciding the fate of other nations through elections. If the "fairness" we saw in Florida has been the "fairness" applied in other parts of the world to elect Washington's clients, then a time has come for reflection, for the veil of unquestioned moral authority and unblemished integrity has been publicly removed.

Disenfranchisement is a painful punishment, and Africans, more than most people on this troubled planet, know the pains. So they understand the agonies of their African-Americans disenfranchised brethrens. And by extension, leading African-Americans perhaps now understand the pains in Africa where millions have been disenfranchised for decades, ruled by men of violence who have ensured their misery.

Africans have been protesting for decades against some schemes backed by men like Jackson and former President Jimmy Carter, among many others, which have made a mockery of suffrage. When men recruit kids in wars for their personal wealth, when resources are looted, children amputated, diamonds stolen to buy weapons that reduce nations to Hell, when all such vices and evils are accepted by men of conscience to sell such men as decent individuals "winning" elections, then the fate of democracy hangs in the balance.

Because the thundering voices of the Jacksons and the Carters reign supreme elsewhere in rendering political judgments, millions of people are now caught in vicious circles of war and plunder. West Africa is on the brink of collapse after former President Carter told us that by "electing" a thieving and killer warlord, (Liberia's Charles Taylor now exporting his war culture to Guinea after Sierra Leone) abuses and continued terror were "inconceivable." After it became not only conceivable, but the norm, all the American could do was to pack his bag and leave the people in the midst of continued horrors.

But Rev. Jackson must know how it feels to be disenfranchised. Perhaps he and others can now understand how many Liberians felt in 1997 when their franchise ended between being forced to cast ballot for their tormentor or facing more death and destruction. However, America is where Rev. Jackson sees best, since what happens there affects him, his family and compatriots. If he could only ask the children of Liberia, Sierra Leone and now Guinea how they are affected by the lobbying and decisions that gave credence to psychopaths as leaders.

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