Why I Am Pressing The Like Button On Al Sharpton

Hello, Al Sharpton!Image by @superamit via Flickr
Before word gets out - and word does get out fast in this information age of ours - that I put out a blog post comparing Al Sharpton to Carolyn Maloney, (Carolyn Maloney: The Al Sharpton Of Gender Relations) and somebody prints out the post and hands it over to Al Sharpton and Al Sharpton gets all offended, I wanted to put out a new post making it absolutely clear that I admire Al Sharpton, I always have.

Reverend - he is one, is he not; I don't want to be seen confusing him with Jesse Jackson (I am not one of those who don't know Africa is not a country) who I have been honored to meet in person (I have seen Sharpton in person although never got a chance to shake his hand) - Sharpton is a pretty cool guy, if you think about it. (Jesse Jackson On Martin Luther King Boulevard)

When I got to see him up close, I remember thinking, I am not sure I want that on my head, but the guy sure has fancy hair.

He ran for president four years before Obama did. People say Jesse Jackson running for president paved the way for Obama. But those people forget that Sharpton also helped pave the way. Granted Jackson is bigger than Sharpton - one is like Gandhi, another like Nehru - but that does not make Sharpton insignificant by comparison. He does deserve a small mention.

When Sharpton ran for president, he was often considered the most articulate of all candidates. What failed his talents was a lack of field organization, a lesson Obama totally took to heart four years later. Would you dispute that?

Sharpton is a go to guy. People who run for office in this town routinely seek out his advice, especially on issues of race relations, but also on bread and butter issues in general.

He has had a political career, he is one of the most well known community activists across the country, and I think he also owns a radio station, which would make him a media guy. I know about that radio station part because Hillary would call in asking for his support when she was running for president and the Reverend would tactfully tell her he was still studying the candidates and weighing his options. That is how I knew he was secretly on our side. That was a time when blacks across the city and the country were falling like flies into the Clinton camp giving us Obama people the scare: if Barack can't even get black people, how will he get white people? Al Sharpton displayed much grace under that pressure. At some level I feel about him the way I feel about Caroline Kennedy. They were there for us Barack people when it counted.

Paterson Needs Caroline To Get To Barack
Advice For Caroline
Caroline Kennedy Is No Sarah Palin, She Is No Airhead
I Like The Caroline Kennedy Name
Caroline Kennedy: A President Like My Father

I remember, my candidate Obama showed up for an event in Harlem at the Apollo Theater in Fall 2007. He had dinner with the decidedly neutral Sharpton who after that dinner told the press people, "This black brother eats soul food. How bad can he be?" I could not have come up with that quote if I tried.

Once in a while the Reverend is known to get agitated, but you would too if you had been black in America the past so many decades. We all have a little steam to blow.

He is one of the few liberals known to always be ready to debate Bill O'Reilly. That is a positive quality.


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