Points By Drew Pritt

If Obama Wins….Jesse, SR. should succeed.
August 1, 2008, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So what happens if Barack Obama makes history and becomes President? Well there will be many bridges to cross before then and it’s a big “IF” but IF he does win, who succeeds him in the U.S. Senate? It will be up to embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Il.) to name a successor to serve until 2010. If that happens, there’s only one name that I think should be named to the U.S. Senate….and he ain’t a Junior!

No matter how you look at it, Barack Obama owes a lot to the legacy of many, but more distinctly to two women who have died and one man who still lives. Without U.S. Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.) breaking barriers in 1972, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-Tx.) in her stirring addresses before the Democratic National Conventions in 1976 and 1992, and the endless sevice of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. whose two Presidential bids in 1984 and 1988 broke down many barriers….Barack Obama would not be on the edge of history today. They paved the way for him.

Contraversial statements aside and aside from Jackson’s son and namesake, Jesse, Jr.’s work for Senator Obama, this appointment would capsulate a life of service that has been more than two strong bids for President.

With Obama’s presumed ascension to the White House, the U.S. Senate would be without an African-American member. Following his graduation from North Carolina A&T, Jackson attended the Chicago Theological Seminary with the intent of becoming a minister, but dropped out in 1966 to focus full-time on the civil rights movement. He was ordained in 1968, without a theological degree; awarded an honorary theological doctorate from Chicago in 1990; and received his Master of Divinity Degree based on his previous credits earned, plus his life experience and subsequent work, in 2000.

In 1965, he participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders in Alabama. When Jackson returned from Selma, he threw himself into King’s effort to establish a beachhead of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Chicago. In 1966, King selected Jackson to be head of the SCLC’s Operation Breadbasket in Chicago, and promoted him to be the national director in 1967. In 1984, Jackson organized the Rainbow Coalition, which later merged, in 1996, with Operation PUSH, which Jackson started in 1971. The newly formed Rainbow PUSH organization brought his role as an important and effective organizer to the mainstream. It is based in Chicago.

On February 15, 2003, Jackson spoke in front of over an estimated one million people in Hyde Park, London at the culmination of the anti-war demonstration against the imminent invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and the United Kingdom. In November 2004, Jackson visited senior politicians and community activists in Northern Ireland in an effort to encourage better cross-community relations and rebuild the peace process and restore the governmental institutions of the Belfast Agreement. In August 2005, Jackson traveled to Venezuela to meet Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez  following controversial remarks by televangelist Pat Robertson in which he implied that Chávez should be assassinated. Jackson condemned Robertson’s remarks as immoral. After meeting with Chávez and addressing the Venezuelan Parliament, Jackson said that there was no evidence that Venezuela posed a threat to the U.S. Jackson also met representatives from the Afro Venezuela and indigenous communities. In 2005, he was enlisted as part of the United Kingdom’s “Operation Black Vote”, a campaign to encourage more of Britain’s ethnic minorities to vote in political elections ahead of the May 2005 General Election.

The most fitting and obvious choice to succeed Obama, I believe, would be Jesse Jackson, Sr!


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