I met Jesse Jackson that year at the Chicago Convention streetside festivities along with a lot of other young lefties [Lanny Davis, John Podesta, Sam Brown, etc.] before the Dems descended into identity politics. Years before, at St. Louis U., I had a personal conversation with Rev. Daniel Berrigan SJ about the future of the left. Surprisingly to me [this was before Watts], DB told me it would be in the inner cities---not yet the canonical writ that this would become a decade later. I also had a front-row seat listening to Rev. Martin Luther King at SLU, a memorable experience. Back in those days, there was still a pristine purity about fighting for desegregation & the black family had not yet disintegrated into a drug-fed centrifugal explosion. I was derided by Sam Brown for joining the State Dept---after dabbling in ultra-left SDS politics [I even met Bill Ayers and Diana Oughton in an Ann Arbor leftist cabal---Columbia rad leader Mark Rudd was my houseguest during the SDS national confab led by soon-to-marry-Fonda FNU Hayden]. Diana blew herself up a year later and was identified in the Greenwich Village house rubble by her index finger found in the wreckage. Ayers is back in the news along with his ex-con wife. Hitchens does have how this all connects to Obama, the next generation of hucksters:
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the recently retired pastor of Barack Obama's church in Chicago. Here is the form that the reverend's "retirement" will take: a $1.6 million home, purchased in the name of his church and consisting of more than 10,000 square feet, in a gated community in Tinley Park, a prosperous white section of the city. There used to be a secularist line about fat shepherds and thin sheep, but the joke here is not just at the expense of a man who never pretended to be much more than a hustler. The joke is on those of the "flock" who tithed themselves to achieve this level of comfort for a man who must be pinching himself when he wakes up every day.
But, then, so must the Rev. Al Sharpton, routinely described by the New York Times as "the civil rights activist," be pinching himself each morning. By evening, after all, several limos will have arrived to transport him to several studios where he will be flattered and taken seriously. And this enviable existence is watched with avaricious jealousy by more junior practitioners, like the raving Rev. James Meeks of Chicago's Salem Baptist Church, who may not yet be quite ready for prime time, and by the members of Louis Farrakhan's racist and sectarian crew, who affect to think that Christianity is a slave religion and that white people are the products of a laboratory experiment gone wrong.
The thing that this gaggle of cranks and parasites has in common is the extreme deference with which it is treated by the junior senator from Illinois. In April 2004, Barack Obama told a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times that he had three spiritual mentors or counselors: Jeremiah Wright, James Meeks, and Father Michael Pflegerâ€”for a change of pace, a white Catholic preacher who has a close personal feeling for the man he calls (as does Obama) Minister Farrakhan. This crossover stuff is not as "inclusive" as it might be made to seem: Meeks' main political connections in the white community are with the hysterically anti-homosexual wing of the Christian right. If Obama were to be read a list of the positions that his clerical supporters take on everything from Judaism to sodomy, he would be in the smooth and silky business of "distancing" from now until November. And that is why he hopes that his Philadelphia speech, which dissociated him from everything and nothing, will be enough. He seems, indeed, to have a real gift for remaining adequately uninformed about the real beliefs of his "mentors."
Yep, instead of rhymin' and jivin', the descendant of slaveholders Barack is a smoother version of Bubba Jeff, spouse of the serial fibber still in the Dem primary race. Of course, the mainstream media is giving Obama dozens of free passes and the Dems are counting on sliming ["swiftboating" is not a pejorative, as it was testimony from men who served long tours in Vietnam in an honorable fashion, not a three-month summer sunshine soldier like John Kerry] John McCain using Soros money.
Of course, George Soros got a lot of his money shorting the English pound and more recently, the US dollar, which this socialist/communist financier is trying to talk down in world markets as he gives Media Matters turncoat Brock $40 million for a slush/slasher fund.
American politics has descended since my short participations ['64 Clay for Congress, St.L; '68 McCarthy Nat'l Staff; '80 Anderson MidEast advisor; '84 Mondale FonPol advisor where I introduced Hitchens to the Mondale people]. Hitchens finishes with a panegyric about MLK:
This is a lot sadder, and a lot more serious, than has been admitted. Four decades after the murder in Memphis of a friend of the working manâ€”a hero who was always being denounced by the FBI for his choice of secular and socialist friends and colleaguesâ€”the national civil rights pulpit is largely occupied by second-rate shakedown artists who hope to franchise "race talk" into a fat living for themselves. Far from preaching truth and brotherhood, they trade in cheap slander and paranoia and in venomous dislike of other minorities. Elijah Muhammad and the Black Muslims used to relish their meetings with Klansmen and Nazis to discuss the beauties of separatism. These riffraff, too, hang out with Farrakhan and make opportunist coalitions with the James Dobsons and Gary Bauers of the white right. This is the lovely clientele of the faith-based initiative. Who now cares to commemorate Philip Randolph or Bayard Rustin or the other giants of struggle and solidarity in whose debt we live? So amnesiac have we become, indeed, that we fall into paroxysms of adulation for a ward-heeling Chicago politician who does not complete, let alone "transcend," the work of Dr. King; who hasn't even caught up to where we were four decades ago; and who, by his chosen associations, negates and profanes the legacy that was left to all of us.
MLK was a Gandhi wannabe. Barack is a JFK wannabe. Big difference.