President Lyndon Johnson once phoned Abba Eban and said, “I was sitting here a-scratchin’ o’ my a** and thinkin’ about Iz-rah-el.” Well, earlier tonight, I was thinking about Jesse Jackson.
It would be hard to convey to young people what a big presence he was in our national life. Every day, he was on television, hollerin’. Every second, he was in our faces, being Jesse Jackson, ubiquitous in the media. I think he was on television more than anyone else, including Johnny Carson (who tapered off after a while). And the deference paid to him was enormous.
Then, silence, pretty much. It was all rather sudden, I think. Jackson has been shockingly quiet for the last many years. Why?
One scandal too many, at long last? An eclipse by Al Sharpton? (In 2009, an MSNBC announcer introduced Jackson as Sharpton, which had to be the low point of Jackson’s career.) Then there was the election of Barack Obama, of course.
For years, Jackson was known as “the President of Black America.” That title was not so necessary after November ’08.
In any event, the quieting of Jesse Jackson has been one of the phenomena of these times. #SmallBlessings