Jewish World Review July 19, 2013/ 12 Menachem-Av, 5773
After repeated controversies, Sharpton is still smokin'
By Jonah Goldberg
Named by Business Insider as one of the "11 exclusive clubs Wall Streeters are dying to get into," the
Immune as I am to the seductions of class resentment and Jacobin envy, I will admit it: I love the place. If invited, and if I could afford it, I'd join.
The one question I have is: Who's paying for
"The Rev." is an omnipresent member of the club. After his MSNBC show, he'll swing by for dinner and cigars amidst the other Masters of the Universe. I couldn't confirm that he repaired there after he broadcast his radio show, "Keeping it Real," from
The reason I ask who's paying for his membership is that Sharpton's relationship with money has always been complicated. When he claimed he didn't have the resources to pay damages in a defamation suit he lost, Sharpton was asked in a deposition how he could afford his suits. He didn't own them, he replied, someone else did. He was merely granted "access" to the garments as needed. The same went for his TV, silverware, etc.
There's a metaphor in there somewhere. In our overly therapeutic culture, we talk a lot about "enabling" pathologies, self-destructive behavior, etc. Well, Sharpton is a pathology enabled by the very system he loathes.
In a healthy society, Sharpton might be on parole now -- not the must-get guest for "Meet the Press" and "Today" on issues of racial justice. He was a ringleader in perpetuating the evil
If he'd been locked up for that, he might not have helped incite the
Perhaps if he'd been shunned for his role in that, he might not have encouraged yet more violence in 1995, when Sharpton led protests against the eviction of a black-owned record store. Sharpton fueled rage on his radio show and at rallies to the point where one of the protestors ran into a Jewish-owned store whose owner was wrongly blamed for the eviction, shot several people and then burned the place down, killing seven (mostly Hispanic) occupants.
But he was shunned for none of it. Nor was he shunned for his sometimes cavalier compliance with tax laws or his shabby shakedowns of corporations for donations. In fact, in a culture that increasingly rewards shamelessness, Sharpton got in on the ground floor and has been cashing in on his access ever since. The attorney general himself celebrates his "partnership" with Sharpton.
Sharpton is even hailed as an expert on racial tensions, which in a funny way is true. The establishment he constantly seeks to "speak truth" to has enabled him in every conceivable way. He doesn't just have access to his suits, he's been given access to just about everything the 1 percent has to offer, including the very best cigars.
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