The LA Times has noticed the Democratic candidates lining up to seek Rev Al Sharpton's political blessing (For Democrats, all paths to the White House run through the House of Sharpton) and seems to be silently screaming "no, please, don't!"
A glimpse at the guest list for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s confab here this week would surely astonish any New Yorker arriving in a time machine from the 1980s. Every major Democrat who has launched a White House bid has cleared their schedule to get in front of the Reverend.Astonished? Oh, they've got that right.
But today, Sharpton’s approval is sought by political candidates far and near. The crusades he launched decades ago against police abuse and racist enforcement of drug laws — back when his issues were widely denigrated as fringe and his look ran to velour tracksuits, giant gold medallions and a pompadour the size of Queens — are now central to the speeches of almost every Democratic 2020 hopeful.The story hits the highlights of the Rev's long trail of trouble-making in New York during the '80s and '90s: the Tawana Brawley hoax, the firebombing of Freddie's Fashion Mart in Harlem that killed eight persons, and his instigating a mini-pogrom in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights.
The lifelong preacher and political bomb thrower, the man New York mayors once did not want in their city, much less near their offices, says it is not he who has changed, but the nation’s politics.
But there is so much more. Especially the extraordinarily politically incorrect speech in which the Rev Al indulged just the day before yesterday. That alone ought to rule him out as an endorser of Democratic Party Presidential candidates, or so you would think.
Consider that gem of Rev Al rhetoric embedded above, which is from his '90s Afrocentrism period. He delivered it in a 1995 speech at Kean College, New Jersey.
I'd heard of that quote, but it is so perfectly stupid that it strains plausibility to think that even Rev Al really said that. And the reference to Trump makes it just too perfect. That had to be exaggerated if not invented, right? But then I found the audio.
If there are any Democratic candidates who have not yet kissed the Rev's ring, they should run, not walk, away.