March 26th, 2010
06:24 PM ET
4 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. ib

    This is totally absurd. JJ and some democrats are turning this into a racial issue and it has nothing; nothing at all to do with race. It is about having gov. controlled healthcare and ration healthcare rammed down our throats. This is disgusting in the worse sort of way.

    March 26, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Yes and take of map of the old Confederacy from the 1800's and compare it to what states vote Republican. Case closed...the GOP is nothing more than a desire to turn back the clock over 100 years. Shame on you Republicans for your hatred and ignorance.

    March 26, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    this is too funny watching the left bend over backwards to make this anything but the issue at hand, they are so predictable and they are the ones generating this divide! end of story, the last thing they want is civility and debate because they would get murdered in that arena. these tactics by the left are becoming so so so predictable and frankly they are a weak foe! they better hope the main stream media doesn't pull out because that's the only thing propping them up.

    March 26, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. Rino Reagan

    My impression of CNN- "But do they compare to enemies of the civil rights movement? Both sides have blah blah blah...at the end of the day blah blah blah....to be fair blah blah blah...we'll let you decide....blah blah blah...let us know what you think on Twitter blah blah blah.

    March 26, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Dr. William Thomas

    Excellent! I agree.

    March 26, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    I am absolutely in favor of health care reform. But not this one. This partisan legislation created by Democrats is short-sighted and does not fix what is broken; health care costs. This bill is loaded with back room deals, expensive favors and other political baggage that has nothing to do with health care but everything to do with securing votes of congressmen and special interest groups who otherwise would not support this bill. This is 2010 America. We have a recession to try and pull out of. This bill makes it much less likely to happen anytime soon. This bill is a mistake we will all regret.

    March 26, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom

    Yes, its as ugly out in our Nation as it was during the Civil Rights era. Seems that the same people yelling and screaming "bloody hell" back then are still around now, to scream and yell!

    I do not mind if people protest, its the HATE and THREATS I despise!

    Conservatives where are your leaders condemning the hate and threats?

    March 26, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Hammerer

    Always about race.

    March 26, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. concerned in mississippi

    I think it is important to remember that darkness can't put out darkness only light can do this. Love is needed to combat hate and once people understand the true meaning of love and what it really means to be a christian then we as a country can start to live out the true creed of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Hate breeds hate and love inspires love and goodwill. Lets aspire to inspire.

    March 26, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  10. jd

    Guess he does't think tea-bagger is a racial slur either. Complaining about racism while being a racist doesn't work. Talking about bigotry while being a bigot doesn't work either. Democrats need to look at what they have been saying over the last few years.

    March 26, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    African Americans had a reason to march and I remember how we were always reminded to be 'non-violent' because that is what MLK wanted. I remember the last half of the 60s and 70s and how we strived to 'hold back' even though we were spit in the face. Violence broke out because there were some who refused to 'turn the cheek' when they got spit on!!!

    Fighting for Health Care is fighting for a CIVIL right!!! The tea party is fighting against Health Care – is that a CIVIL right?? Both have an argument that they feel is right – BUT, who is acting CIVIL????

    I don't know if you can put what the Tea Party is fighting for in the CIVIL RIGHTS box!! Their agenda is broader and include racism and hate against EVERYONE – Black, White, Gay, Straight, Non-Religious and even religious, illegal immigrants – everybody!!!

    March 26, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. Palin Power

    When Sarah Palin becomes President in 2013, she will bring greater peace and prosperity around the whole world and unite this entire country in a way that no man can ever do. Only a woman president can heal this world from its deep-seeded divisions and that woman is Sarah Palin!

    March 26, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  13. Terry607

    Oh please. What was he promised?

    March 26, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. 8 Years of King George II and now the Landed Gentry Scream “Let Them Eat Cake” to the Unemployed and Uninsured Serfs!

    The reason is sounds the same, is it is still racist rednecks, just the next generation.

    March 26, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. Michael

    I hate to say it, but Rev Jackson is right! During the civil rights movement protestors against the movement, hurled rocks, hateful language, threats, racial ephitets, anti-government slogans, ethnic slurs, carried guns and went one step further with "murder." SOUND FAMILIAR! Sounds like Tea Party members! Tea members are filled with KKK, John Birch Society, Successionist, and Skin head sociopaths aimed at dividing this nation, by religion, race, ethnicity, politics, and fear!

    March 26, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. raingirl2

    this behavior is nothing new in main street however those black leaders who think that their seat at the proverbial table is enough to silence the voices of racism throughout the black communities. the example demonstrated at the white house is clear evidence that whatever acceptance black leaders felt was just their desire to be accepted. the politicians might I say all white men and women just reiterated the fact that true racism lives in their hearts and just under the first layer of skin and erupts at will. just as soon as they don't get what they want and rightfully entitled to they don't hesitate to roll back that thin veil and proudly demonstrate just how far we have not come in race relations to the point of uttering the "N" word and the disgusting act of spitting on one of our elected officials, calling the President by his name disrespecting his title of President this is evidence that we slept through the entire civil rights movement and didn't gain very much ground March 2010 turned the spotlight on what is occurring daily and under the cover of night what happens to the regular black citizen further evidence that turning the other cheek has not worked for blacks so what's next? we will never unite because we are too selfish and greedy to help one another for the greater good those of us who think that they have made it generally side with the Michael Steele, John Boehner types what a sad commentary

    March 26, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. jm for sc

    A-Men.

    March 26, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Let us not forget, the majority of Americans, from all ethnic groups, don't adhere to this ugliness. It's a threat to our national security and is a dangerous threats to our children and family members who lived in households filled with hate and anger. Get your family members some help before they endanger you, these actions aren't normal.

    March 26, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Mike in NYC

    It's hard to imagine someone who's given more currency to the - I'll accept feeling stupid as the price of not being censored - "N-word," nor deserves more to be the recipient of said label.

    March 26, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. southern cousin

    Yes it does, we will end up with millions of unemployed, unproductive people living on our tax money thanks to poverty pimps like Jackson. Civil Rights Act led to the Great Society for which we spent $3 trillion and ended up worse than before. Another great libertard robbery.

    March 26, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Elliott Carlin

    "These days will live in infamy...."

    If they had to spell it the way he said it, it would be "imfamy".

    No race hustling = no $'s

    Keep it up Jesse

    March 26, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. Ed W.

    Hey Jesse – Where's the video? You had cameras, surely you caught this on film, right?

    March 26, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. Sam

    Does anyone really care what Jesse Jackson says ? We can't even understand racist.

    March 26, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Oddly enough, and for the first time in my life, I agree with Jesse Jackson.

    But for entirely different reasons than his.

    This issue is, at least in part, a civil rights issue. It, at least in part, concerns the rights of Americans not to be compelled by the force of law and the threats of fines and imprisonment, to purchase something they do not want and do not need. It concerns the rights of Americans, a majority of whom did not want this law passed, to be honestly represented in Congress and not have their representatives bribed into ignoring the will of the people.

    The civil rights issues of the sixties resulted in riots in the streets, and unless Congress acts soon to atone for its own perfidy, I fully expect a similar reaction now.

    March 26, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. the truth is

    awww..c'mon- it's no big deal...

    a small faction of bigots are angry that Barack Hussein Obama is our president- nothing more.

    we can ignore them and continue with the positive CHANGE that our president has promised us.

    March 26, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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