When Rev. Jesse Jackson stopped in Houston on April 12th to join local leaders to openly criticize the “Stand your Ground” laws, more than 200 people were in attendance along with local leaders and a few media outlets at a southeast Houston church.
The appearance was due mostly in response to the now notorious shooting in Florida of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmernan, a neighborhood watchman back in March.
After the event, Congressman Al Green and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee joined him with a group of city leaders and citizens for a break and a snack in one of the guest rooms in the back of the Metropolitan CME Church.
While a bit tired from a long day around Houston, Rev. Jackson was gracious enough to offer Houston Examiner a quick interview on the hot topic of the year, (what else?) politics and elections.
Houston Examiner: What are the chances of Mitt Romney beating President Obama if he proves to be a more moderate Republican during the general election?
Jesse Jackson: Well, Gov. Romney ran on the 10th amendment, to return power to the states. The states have used the majorities to abuse the minorities. They ran a campaign that attacks the President’s economic policies. The President came in when we were losing thousands and thousands of jobs a month. That’s changed. Hiring is back up now. He came in with 100,000 troops in Iraq, they’re mostly home now. So he has a record that’s substantial. The attacks on him are like throwing snowflakes on a fire. There's no substance in those attacks. Romney can’t make himself up in over a few months.
HE: How about those voters who are disillusioned with him for not doing enough to make things better?
JJ: There are more Americans insured now than when he came in. The Americans that were in the hole are coming slowing out of the hole. All the industries are coming back., the Women’s Pay Equity Act. It all speaks for itself. He didn’t allow for many industries to collapse. It’s hard to forget that.
HE: Many minorities, specifically, blacks and Hispanics, don’t feel President Obama has not done much for them and some feel the opposite has been the case. Your thoughts?
JJ: The problem with perception in minorities is every move [Obama] has made, has been rejected by the radical ideology of the Republican Party. Sick people have been taught to reject the health care plan. People who have a job or are employed should be celebrating. If the Tea party was about economics, then we’re not losing 11 thousands a month but we are gaining them. They should be rejoicing. But they’re against the unnecessary expenditures like war; for example, Iraq’s budget is going down since troops are home now. Michigan is coming back and the industry is getting better. They should be joyous, unless they have another agenda.
HE: During his first term Obama has been criticized for trying to appease and please everyone in his first term including Republicans, do you foresee a more aggressive, forceful leader in his second term?
JJ: Part of leadership is the attempt at reconciliation even in the face of rejection. Because that’s partly how you govern, by reconciliation. But rather, or the fact is the folks he has approached, have rejected his hand of support. That’s critical to me because those Republicans on the sidelines have declared a kind of a civil war. The civil war is states’ rights versus a more perfect Union. They’ve gotten anti-workers rights organized, a new anti-civil rights; this is all happening on the 150th Anniversary of the [American] Civil War. Also, anti-gender equality, a type of voter suppression. They’ve drawn a line in the sand.