Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jena six case evokes Selma

Oh, how Jesse Jackson longs for the good old days of Selma.

Chanting slogans from the civil rights era and waving signs, protesters from around the nation converged in central Louisiana, where the charges have made this otherwise anonymous town of 3,000 people a high-profile arena in the debate on racial bias in the judicial system.

“That’s not prosecution, that’s persecution,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the founder of the RainbowPUSH Coalition and an organizer of the demonstration, told a crowd in front of the LaSalle Parish Courthouse. “We will not stop marching until justice runs down like waters.”

It all reminds Jesse of the glory days of Selma, when there were people who took the old extortionist seriously, instead of considering him a first-class bore and a has-been. Jesse is in the outrage business, and he is enjoying his manufactured outrage on the streets of this little town. He fancies himself as the second coming of Martin Luther King, Jr, but the truth is he is more like a snake oil salesman. Al Sharpton is right beside him, doing his old, familiar number.

Has it ever occurred to these folk that we don't have to march in the streets for justice, like the persecuted monks in Myanmar? We have institutions that handle these things nowadays. They're called courts of law.

When I was a child I noticed a statue of justice atop a courthouse in Columbus. She was wearing a blindfold. I asked my mother what this meant, and she explained that justice is blind. Justice decides cases on their merits, without regard to extraneous factors such as skin color.

The travesty of justice that occurred in Durham should alert us all against pre-judging cases. Let the legal process take its course.

Al and Jesse? Your act is becoming very, very tired.

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