March 26th, 2010
06:24 PM ET
5 years ago

Jesse Jackson: Health care fight echoes civil rights strife

Rev. Jesse Jackson on Friday condemned violent threats against members of Congress.
Rev. Jesse Jackson on Friday condemned violent threats against members of Congress.

(CNN) – Rev. Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, condemned the charged political atmosphere of the moment in harsh terms Friday, comparing some conservative and Republican opponents of heath care reform to enemies of the civil rights movement.

"These days will live in infamy, as the scenes of our elected representatives shouting, 'you lie' and 'baby killer' echo inside the halls of Congress," Jackson said in a statement released by his office. "We've stooped too low when protestors begin hurling the 'n' word at African American congressman, and start making direct and indirect threats at representatives who supported the historic health care legislation."

"These and other radical statements from members of Congress, conservative talk show hosts and "protestors" are drawing ideological lines – states' rights versus federalism, harkening back to the cultural lines drawn over the civil war and modern civil rights movement," he said. "They revive our worse fears and divisions."

Read Jackson's full statement after the jump:


"Threats of Violence Against Public Officials Cannot Be Tolerated"

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

President and Founder – Rainbow PUSH Coalition

March 26, 2010

When leaders at the highest levels challenge the patriotism and birthplace of President Obama, it dishonors the Presidency and sows the seeds of fear, and hatred and potential violence in our nation.

When George Wallace blocked school doors and southern governors convinced some segments of our community that America's honor was at stake, some fought back with terror, bombed churches, and killed freedom marchers. Oftentimes they wrapped their justification in Biblical philosophy.

These days will live in infamy, as the scenes of our elected representatives shouting, "you lie" and "baby killer" echo inside the halls of Congress. We've stooped too low when protestors begin hurling the "n" word at African American congressman, and start making direct and indirect threats at representatives who supported the historic health care legislation.

These and other radical statements from members of Congress, conservative talk show hosts and "protestors" are drawing ideological lines – states' rights versus federalism, harkening back to the cultural lines drawn over the civil war and modern civil rights movement. They revive our worse fears and divisions.

The irony is that those inciting the fear and leading the charge, themselves have comprehensive health care, paid for by the people. Yet, they seek to deny this same health care insurance for nearly 50 million Americans without any coverage at all. Many of the opponents of health care legislation come from states that have the most uninsured people and whose people are most at risk.

And many protesters who are now engaged in this angry and fear-inspired opposition will be first in line to receive the new health care benefits.

Congressional leaders and objective news sources must be immediately and unequivocally denounce the escalation of threats and the inciting of violence against public officials and their offices. Acts of violence are inexcusable and are federal crimes, and cannot be tolerated in a democratic society. We call on the federal, state and local law enforcement officials to take appropriate action.


Filed under: 2010 • Health care • Jesse Jackson
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Scott, Tucson

    So I see Rev. Jackson crawled out from under his rock and is race baiting again.

    March 26, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. Jerry - Florida

    How can this "sold out" compare the civil right strife with healthcare.

    He must really want to kiss up to Mr. NObama.

    I would love to hear what the grassroots Black community has to say about this, not just the opportunists like Mr. Jackson.

    I will stay tuned!

    March 26, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. whaley41

    Hey Jesse, where were you when the left was making threats against Bush and conservatives and saying the shoe thrown at Bush should have been a bullet? Also they wished Cheney had died from his heart attack. You liberals sure have short memories, so stop whinning!!!

    March 26, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  4. annie against biased news

    You Lie and baby killer has nothing to do with civil rights – they are merely the truth. jackson, obama, black caucus can stir up all the racism they want to but WE THE PEOPLE are about the corruption in our government not about the color of any one's skin. After all, all of you who are trying to stir up racial connotations must remember obama is half white and half arab/kenyan. Did jackson forget the color of his president?

    March 26, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. Wayne

    This man Jessey Jackson along with Al sharpton have done more to keep racism alive inthis country than all others put together. Any statement made, any action taken by any white in this country is racist. If a black missed four out of five days work a week and was drunk on the one day that he did show up, and he were to be fired from his job, these two men would claim he was fired because he was black. His being fired was racially motivated. This is the kind of things that keep racism alive and well. These men and those like them will make sure that racism will never die. I, by the way have heard the N word used a thousand times more by blacks than by whites.

    March 26, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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