Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review July 11, 1999 /27 Tamuz 5759

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Tony Snow
Michael Barone
Dave Barry
Kathleen Parker
Dr. Laura
Michael Kelly
Bob Greene
Michelle Malkin
Paul Greenberg
David Limbaugh
David Corn
Marianne Jennings
Sam Schulman
Philip Weiss
Mort Zuckerman
Richard Chesnoff
Larry Elder
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Don Feder
Linda Chavez
Mona Charen
Thomas Sowell
Walter Williams
Ben Wattenberg


'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris --
PARIS, FRANCE --- When in Paris, they say, do as the Parisians. So naturally, I went to hear The Extraordinarily Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Jackson was in town as part of his continuing pilgrimage toward beatification. Having heard him speak before, sometimes magnificently, I was curious to see how Jackson performed on foreign turf.

I was one of about 150 in a hot, cramped classroom at The American University. Most of those present were white American students, with a smattering of African-Americans (read: Democrats abroad) and a handful of French.

Through the French doors (you were expecting Dutch?) opening onto the street came the sound of a tribal drumbeat and the usual murmur of requisite protesters. On this day, they were against genocide, which certainly set them apart from all the rest of us.

The protesters and various journalists delayed Jackson about 30 minutes, giving us all time to consider His Reverend's extreme importance and to focus on our own discomfort in the heat.

Finally, Jackson arrived to the enthusiastic applause he so richly deserves. He is, after all, the only person alive who can secure the release of prisoners - while actually holding hands with the enemy - and he would be, after all, president of the United States. If only he were white.

So said Eva Jackson - a California lawyer, activist and longtime friend of "Brother Man" - upon introducing the reverend. Those who suspected this isn't precisely true nobly kept straight faces and earned extra grace points by standing respectfully for the Black National Anthem. If you, like me, didn't know we had a Black National Anthem, let me clue you in: It's as tricky to sing as the old "Star-Spangled Banner."

At last - but not before a brief moment of silence "to repair the earth" - we were allowed to sit down, whereupon Jackson more or less managed to compare himself to Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi and, more or less, announced his own imminent political demise.

It happened like this: Jackson was explaining the pivotal importance of our involvement in Kosovo. This time, he said, the United States was fighting for human rights rather than territory or oil or geopolitics. He urged equal standards in this fight and offered some guiding principles "by which the earnestness of world leaders should be measured."

So far so good. But beneath those palliative words was a stunning, if unspoken, message: Politicians may pick and choose their battles for political gain, but Jackson pursues the cause of human rights by following in the footsteps of his predecessors: Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi.

Brother Man
Mere mention of history's most famous pacifist-activists apparently stirred Jackson's Southern preacher's blood, for suddenly he abandoned the podium for the pulpit. He voice began to crack and sweat dripped from his brow as he segued into his own savior-resume.

"People always ask me, 'What did you do in Iraq?' 'What did you do in Cuba, Syria?'"

"I tried," he said. "I talked."

Not a word about being the political pawn of our enemies, not a whisper about being used to orchestrate an impression of magnanimity while undermining the credibility of our elected leaders.

The reward of sitting through this self-love fest came, as rewards often do, at the end when the self-congratulatory Jackson unintentionally foretold his own doom. Talking about the perils of power, he thundered to the crowd:

"Why do the mighty fall? They fall when they believe they're mighty," he said without a hint of irony. "They fall upon their own sword."

Amen, Brother Man, beware your own myth.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

©1999, Tribune Media Services