Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Future of Democratic Party lies in moving to the moral center ~ @RevJJackson

Future of Democratic Party lies in moving to the moral center

By Jesse Jackson
August 13, 2018

A new
 generation of Democrats, such as New York congressional candidate
 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is challenging the party's establishment, writes
 Jesse Jackson, and the party's goal should be to embrace the

A new generation of Democrats, such as New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is challenging the party's establishment, writes Jesse Jackson, and the party's goal should be to embrace the "moral center." | AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
The media is now reporting on the debate among Democrats and activists about what the party should stand for, and how it will win elections.
Establishment Democrats are said fear that the populist reform energy represented by Bernie Sanders and rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who upset Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, in a New York City primary) will turn off the moderate, upscale, white suburban Republicans who they believe are appalled by Trump and the key to taking back the Congress.
A Wall-Street-funded group known as the Third Way — which might better be known as the Wrong Way since it has been wrong about every major issue facing the country over the last years, championing disastrous corporate trade deals, deregulation of Wall Street and the Iraq War among other calamities — even convened a small gathering, “cohosted” by a billionaire real estate developer to map out how to counter what the media describes as the left.
The very terms of this debate are misleading. Ideas that have broad public support, such as tuition-free college, are labeled “left.” Ideas that offend philosophical conservatives, such as subsidies to big oil companies, are tagged as on the right, championed by Republicans.
We’d be wiser to focus on common sense and basic principles. When Dr. Martin Luther King spoke forcefully against what he called the “triple evils” of “racism, economic exploitation and militarism,” he was criticized for weakening the cause of civil rights, for getting out of his lane by talking about economic inequality and against the Vietnam War.
He responded, “I’m against segregation at lunch counters, and I’m not going to segregate my moral concerns.” Cowardice, he taught us, asks the question “Is it safe?” Expediency asks, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks, “Is it popular?” Conscience asks, “Is it right?”
We are a nation faced with great perils. Inequality has reached new extremes and, even with the economy near full employment, working people still struggle simply to stay afloat. Big money corrupts our politics and distorts our government. We are mired in wars without end — 17 years in Afghanistan and counting — and without victory or sense. We have a president who believes he profits politically by spreading racial division, appealing to our fears rather than our hopes.
This is the time for citizens and for true leaders to move not left or right, to the expedient or the cautious, but to the moral center. Affordable health care for all isn’t left or right, it is the moral center. Jobs that pay a living wage, affordable housing, public education, college without debt, clean water and air, action to address catastrophic climate change that literally may endanger the world — these are not ideas of the right or left. They are the moral center.
Holding to the moral center has its own power. Opposition to slavery started as a minority position, but its moral force was undeniable. Integration seemed impossible in the segregated South, but its moral force could not be denied. In this time of troubles, I believe that Americans in large numbers are looking for leaders who will embrace the moral center, not the expedient, the safe or the fashionable. They are looking for champions who will represent them, not those with deep pockets.
That may be the final irony. The most successful political strategy may well be not to trim to prevailing opinion or compromise with entrenched interest but to stand up forcefully for what is right.

As teams gear up for the NFL season, President Trump is reviving his destructive
and diversionary attacks aimed at turning fans against players.
The league office stepped in it by unilaterally declaring that players who do not want
to stand during the national anthem should stay in the locker room. The NFL players
association had little choice but to force negotiations over that insult.
Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is a decent guy. But he stuck his foot
in it, too, recently announcing that the Cowboys had to stand for the anthem and
couldn’t stay in the locker room – or else. The league wisely told him to zip it while
the policy was under negotiation. So it goes.
So much of this is a false narrative. Fake news.
Trump dishonestly insists that the players are disrespecting the flag. In fact, the
players kneeling during the anthem were expressing a silent protest not against the
flag, but against police brutality and the reality of structural racial inequality.
Kneeling before the flag in silent, nonviolent protest is not disrespectful to the Stars
and Stripes. Just the opposite. It is a sign of deference and respect, a call to honor
what the flag is truly supposed to represent.
Burning the flag is constitutionally protected but is a desecration. Burning a cross is
a desecration. It is violent. Kneeling before the cross, or during the anthem, on the
other hand, isn’t a desecration; it is a call for help.
Colin Kaepernick was and is concerned about blacks being beaten and killed by
police. He kneeled during the anthem to highlight how the values of the flag were
being ignored on the streets. He wasn’t disrespecting the flag; he was protesting
those who trample its values. He was being a patriot.

Now Trump wants to light the dynamite again. His politics prey and thrive on
division. He hopes to divide us one against the other while his administration rolls
back protections of consumers, workers and the environment, allows corporate
lobbyists to rig the rules, and lards more and more tax cuts and subsidies on
entrenched interests and the wealthy.
So, he purposefully peddles the false narrative that the players are disrespecting the
Jones, who is a Trump supporter, isn’t a bad man. Beyond the playing field, beyond
contracts, he has been a decent guy. He paid for the funeral of Cowboy great Bob
Hayes. But Jones has allowed himself to be turned into Trump’s pawn in this
diversion. The reality is that we would not have the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas were it
not for those protesting for their rights.
The victory of the Civil Rights Movement opened the way to a New South. The
nonviolent protests and resistance pulled down the old barriers and walls in the
South, clearing the way for the Cowboys and the Spurs and the Rockets of the New
South, where blacks and whites could play on the same team and wear the same
colors, where fans root for the colors of their team, not the color of the players’ skin.
Successful protests – at the cost of far too many lives – finally ended slavery and
apartheid in this society. We should be honoring the protesters, not distorting their
Kaepernick was right to protest what is going on in our streets. He has paid a heavy
penalty for expressing his views in a nonviolent and dignified fashion. One of the
best quarterbacks in the league, he has effectively been banned, a blatant conspiracy
that ought to constitute a clear violation of anti-trust laws.
Kaepernick stands among giants. Curt Flood in baseball and Muhammad Ali during
the prime years of his boxing life were also banned, but in the process, they changed
sports and the country for the better.
There have always been politicians who profit by appealing to our fears. There have
always been politicians who seek to divide us for political gain.
We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go to fulfill the flag’s values of
liberty and justice for all. The players expressing their views in nonviolent and
dignified fashion aren’t disgracing the flag, they are expressing its values.
Let us turn against those who would divide us and join together to make America

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