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Barack Obama's win: News to make Jesse Jackson weep

It was just a fleeting image, one we saw on the Fox News Channel, from the mass gathering in Chicago awaiting the victory speech from President-elect Barack Obama. The Rev. Jesse Jackson sheds tears shortly after the news that Barack Obama captured the presidency

But it was a telling one -- the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a face in the crowd (though a highly recognizable one), with tears streaming down his face in the minutes after the pronouncements from the networks that Obama had won the White House.

Tears of joy? Tears of wonderment? Probably a combination of both.

Before this cycle's campaign, Jackson ranked as the nation's one credible African-American presidential candidate. When he sought the Democratic nod in 1984, he won five primaries and caucuses.

He more than doubled that showing in 1988, winning 11 nomination contests. In what began as a crowded field, he was the last man standing against the eventual nominee, Michael Dukakis.

Now, his candidacy will be viewed as a prelude to Obama's stunning achievement. As for his actual role in the historic campaign, it will be remembered as a negative one.

Amid ongoing speculation that he harbored jealousy toward his fellow Chicagoan, he created a small flap this past summer when, while waiting to be interviewed on television interview, he uttered crude and uncomplimentary remarks about Obama that were picked up by a live microphone.

Coincidentally, that moment occurred on Fox News. It caused even his own son -- a House member from Illinois prominently mentioned as a possible sucessor to Obama in the Senate -- to scold his father.

In temperament and style, the elder Jackson and Obama are stark contrasts. And as Obama settles into his new office, we wouldn't be surprised if the discontent Jackson gave vent to months ago again are heard from him (in a more refined fashion).

Tonight, though, for many Americans -- black and white -- Jackson's brief and unscripted moment on camera said it all.

-- Don Frederick

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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I have to confess my first thought was, is he crying because he said he wanted to cut his (manhood) off? Jaded, and most likely not wanted in an Obama whitehouse as a cabinet member as an advisor for really, anything. OR...Perhaps I'm just cynical and his tears were sincere catharsis for decades of African American struggle. Probably a little of both. Sincere thanks to Mr. Obama for saving the country from a possible Palin Presidency....whew! Best of luck Mr. President.

An incredible moment for America and for the rest of the world! Bravo America! You have arrived as a true democracy by electing an African-American as the new President! Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King’s struggles have finally been vindicated.

I cried when I saw Jackson crying because I know this has got to be a day he couldn't fathom. In spite of his lapse in judgment of the "open mic" incident, this man marched and lived thru the assassination of Martin L King. This was truly something he couldn't have imagined living to see. Bless his heart for what he has done over the years in defense of discrimination.

I believe those were tears of RAGE and JEALOUSY. Jessee Jackson felt that it should have been HIM up there.

Let us not forget that the run for the white house by Jesse Jackson made this all possible. He was there with Rev. M. L. King Jr. as a young man, perhabs with the same fervor as Obama today. He led the civil rights movement for many years thereafter, along with other great African- American leaders. He took the first steps that led to the great successful run. I supported his campaign, volunteered, contributed, and eventually voted for a nominee facing unbelievable odds. He finished third overall, but he will always by the first on my list. My daughter, 20 years old UCLA student, Sade Zeinab Elhawary, volunteered for Obama's campaign, made the calls, and knocked on the doors. She did it with the same passion that I had back in 1984, but the numbers were a study in contrasts. Obama galvanized the millions that no one else could, but Jesse Jackson made it all possible. I cried when he lost in 1984, and cried again in 2008 when Obama won. But I could not stop crying when I saw his face in the crowd crying. Let us not forget the pioneer Jesse Jackson.

I was so touched when I saw Jackson crying - I cried. Imagine the unimaginable. Imagine the promised land...
His unfortunate "open mic" comments were generational. The media has maligned Jackson who when I was young gave me so much hope. Imagine - we can have hope again.

Grace - Shame on you.

Like most human beings, Jesse Jackson sheds tears that flow from a COMPLEX set of feelings. Jackson is an American hero, someone who paved the way for Barack's moment, a moment that belongs to African-Americans and ALL Americans--indeed to the whole international community. Jesse has made mistakes and misteps, to be certain, but in the balance he remains a giant, a humanitarian, an extraordinary advocate for racial justice and freedom for all. My guess is that Jesse's tears reflect: vindication of Jesse's life's work, tremendous racial and cultural pride, renewed faith in America, and expanded love of country.

The politics of fear replaced by hope for politics. Congrats America!

Your friends in Canada


His crying face finally released my own tears. He has been there every step of the way... How moving.

Jesse Jackson is opportunistic! Anything that will help him remain in the public eye is what he will do. Those were not tears of joy for President-elect Obama; they were tears of opportunity; opportunity to be seen on national television as a part of this unprecedented history. (he probably was hoping maybe it would get him an interview or two) He probably noticed the cameras being placed on people who were crying and realized that if he shed a tear or two that he would get some recognition. Jesse needs to get his own platform without the help of others fortune or misfortune. The comments he made about President-e elect Obama during the campaign season were unforgivable. If it's not about Jesse, he doesn't want it to be about anybody. I have followed his career since Dr. King and I have not changed my opinion of him not once. If opportunity knocks Jesse will open the door and let himself in. Go home Jesse and stay!

I'm truly not a fan of Jesse's

Jesse Jackson probably shed tears of joy.this is a day that has moved most blacks, it was a moment of AT LAST. What Martin Luther King had died for has come into fulfilment.
am black nd proud!!!!!

There was a time in the 70's when I was a Jackson believer, then time uncovered his self serving agenda and opportunistic corruption. He was clever and charismatic. He is one hell of an actor and will do anything he can to get back on the bus after falling off with his unflattering comments about Barrack.

As for Barrack! Time will tell, there is to much that has been kept from the country about Barrack, his background and beliefs. He has great charisma, style and intelligence. These are common characteristics of great men and con artists. Time will tell. I hope for the best!

re: acting...come now...let's not be party poopers. Why doesn't somebody ask J.J. what he was feeling? "Libs don't have feelings" makes human beings sound like they are not human at all. Obviously J.J. was trying not to lose it as (evidenced by his finger covering his mouth). I can empathize with him. I was doing the same last night. I can tell you I was not acting. Even though I didn't want to show my tears... It was very difficult to not hold them back. I was in a public place and had to leave because I was embarrased that people would see me crying. Anybody who doesn't understand the significance of this historic event for black people, white people and for the world was obviously skipping history class. Dehumanizing people especially in such an obvious state of deep human emotion makes me wonder if he also missed the lesson on nazism too. While I celebrate this significant event I am moved just as much if not more by who Obama is as a person. He is articulate, who is intelligent and who seems to care about the nation and world as a whole. We are all interconnected. We all affect eachother. Listen up...unless we learn to understand eachother we will fail as a nation. United We Stand....Divided We Fall.

Finally so many decades of struggle for civil rights and non-discrimination vindicated. I also cried to see that Martin Luther King's dream has finally become true. A dream nobody expected to see. Guantanamo made us doubt about America, but today America has shown again that it is still the more democratic country on Earth. Congratulations fom Europe.

people that ascribe falseness and malice to his tears need to get a life. Jackson witnessed MLK die violently before his eyes. Obama's election is in many ways the culmination of the dream that has defined his and his family's life. Jackson has kept a low profile since the mic gaffe, but in the interviews he has done, the reader is left with no doubt about his feelings.

We have to remember that for better or for worse, Jesse Jackson is a man, however imperfect, who has championed the cause for African-Americans. He WATCHED Martin Luther King Jr. DIE before his very eyes, so for him to FINALLY see a black man in America win the Presidency, when he probably never thought it would happen in his lifetime is definitely something to get emotional about--those were tears of joy and amazement streaming from his was touching to see a part of the 'Dream' that was talked about so long ago finally be realized by a man who held it on his shoulders after the 'Dreamer' is truly a great day.

Jesse is so fake. His presidential campaign was a joke. He has never been down for any cause but himself. He is an embarrassment. A foul mouthed, greedy, womanizing caricature. I'm surprised he didn't whip out the bloody T-shirt. What kind of black man wants to cut off another brother's nuts? He's probably crying because he just found out Friend of the Court just upped his child support. Fake azz Reverand.

I will not debate the merit or effects of Jackson's impact on civil rights. I do want to say that way before election night it struck me as telling that he nor Sharpton had any role in Obama's campaign. In my opinion that says it all. If the Obama people felt as though either one of them could give creedence to their cause, surely they would have embraced them at somepoint during the campaign.

Why was Jesse Jackson crying? A cynic might respond that he realized he was now just a face in the crowd rather than being on the stage. He was reduced to positioning himself for the Fox camera. You surely don't think his exact location in the crowd was happenstance? The decline of influence of "community leaders" like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other self-declared community leaders might cause a thoughtful young African-American teenager to realize that her personal progress depends on the content of her character and her willingness to study and stretch as far as her abilities will allow.

I voted for Obama, but I sure would hate to see him appoint 'The' Rev. Jesse Jackson to any position in government. The same goes for 'The' Rev'. Al Sharpton. Two of the biggest racists in the US today.

To even question Mr. Jackson's tears reflects a level of cynicism that borders on the pathological. The peals of pathos that surely now reverberate in such a man must be unfathomable, the tears, beyond true.

it is quite disturbing to hear that these were tears of jealousy ... when this man (JESSE) has done more for blacks than Barrack ever has.... or will....
to sum it up .... Jesse paved the way for barrack ...

This guy will do anything to get a TV camera in his face.

Where was his love child? Hope he brought him to the event.

Where was his love child? Hope he brought him to the event.

I didnt just cry I SOBBED. I grew up in Bham Al during th 60's and started school the first year of desegregation. I remember trembling as my mother held my hand and lead me into my first grade class because their was a crowd of people SCREAMING as we entered the school. I NEVER forgot that nor have I forgotten the other horrible things I witnessed during the Civil rights movement in my childhood. As a white child I had it VERY easy by comparison but I was STILL profoundly affected by it all. If someone had told me that a black man would have been president even 20 years ago I would NOT have believed them. I AM SO PROUD of America today that we are ready as a nation to move forward and put the ugly past behind us!

There is nothing genuine about jesse jackson. The tears were as likely an act as they were sincere. The best thing he could do for the president elect is to fade away

ok riddle me this. If african americans voted for obama just because hes black and for no other reason (which A LOT of them did!) doesnt that make them just as racist as me for NOT voting for him because he's black.

Come on people, I am sick of this reverse racism crap being totally socially acceptable. This is NOT acceptable.

c'mon guys...Obama wouldn't have been possible without Jesse and his generation. He said something stupid about Obama. But he also walked into the fire hoses, the dogs, the police batons, and was there when Dr. King was assassinated. I'm sure the tears were for all the folks whose blood and tears amde last night possible and whose ghosts were there on that stage last night.

He was crying b/c he can't use his race schtick anymore!! HA HA HA GOODBYE

I'd like to think he was crying tears of joy because Martin Luther King and everyone who died in the civil rights movment got their victory but sadly it was likely because he may have to get a real job and can't use the race card or accuse of "white America" of trying to keep the black people down anymore.

That so called civil rights leader has shown on many occasions that his stance on racism is selective which is probably why he was never elected President, he fights for justice for blacks but tries to make sure whites don't get it in black on white crimes (the jena 6 is a perfect example, if it had been a black kid beaten by a group of white kids he would have been screaming for justice). When a white celeb makes a racist remark he demands they be fired but barely bats an eyelash over racist remarks or mistreatment of other races.

@KG: brother, PLEASE. Jesse Jackson is part of the old-guard. And while yes, he was part of the civil rights movement back in the day, it doesn't apologize for the bs he's pulled in the recent past, most notably his nut-cutting comment.

You say that Jesse's done more for 'blacks' than Obama ever will-WRONG!!!! So, so wrong.

Because of Obama, my nephew can now realistically dream of being President. That trumps all of Jessie's past achievements. It doesn't negate them, but come on.

How am I supposed to explain Jessie's on-air slip of the tongue to the same nephew?

"Oh, he gets a past because he used to do good things back before you were born"

Kids are smarter than that. If anything, Jessie was crying because he realized that Obama is as much a par of the 'Movement' as he ever was, and when it counted, he said some shady nonsense that made all of us look bad.

another big difference: ANYONE can look up to Obama. To look up to Mr. Jackson, you kind of have to be a racist a**hole that plays 'divide and conquer' among his own people.

Let's keep the past in the past. Errant love children and calls for castration are in no way 'keeping hope alive.'

Cry on, Jessie. Cry on...

Tears of accomplishment. When MLK and his staff, which included Jesse Jackson, entered a white neighborhood in Chicago in 1966 to protest inequality in housing, they were greeted by an angry mob. The crowd flipped and burned cars to chants of, "We want King!" MLK was struck once, and Jesse Jackson was struck three times. To King aide Andrew Young, it was more frightening than any counter-protest he faced in the south.
Last night, in Chicago, Jesse Jackson witnessed the results of the blood, sweat, and tears he and others spent, during the Civil Rights Movement. I shouldn't speak on the tears of others, but I believe that, last night, Jesse Jackson, and other participants in the Civil Rights Movement were crying because their dream has come to fruition.

He's crying because he knows he's out of a job now. America apparently ISN'T really a racist nation after all. He has no one to point the finger too because white America elected Obama.

Maybe he was crying because his retinas couldn't stand the strain of the irony of a country voting in a black president and then denying gay people the right to get married.

Surely the 7 out of 10 black voters in California who voted for proposition 8 (marriage ban) made him wonder if they were really marching for equality all that time or just a chance to come up and then piss on Martin Luther King Jr.'s grave. Well, actually probably not - there's about a 70% chance he doesn't give a crap about gay people's rights.

But no worries, they're only about 10% of the population. Wait, aren't black people about 12% of the population? Isn't that pretty close to disenfranchising a significant part of the population, just like what happened to them in the past? Hmm. Well, at least gay people aren't singled out and attacked by rednecks for being gay - phew! Oh wait, yes they are.

They should have a march or something!

I'm so proud of you America!

There are a few things here that tell me his tears weren't 100% genuine. He kept glancing to his right while he was crying (there was a monitor showing what the camera was broadcasting) and he clearly knew he was on camera. This is confirmed by the individual who raised his hand and put it in front of his face which is typical behavior for people when they see a monitor being broadcast. In addition, where were Mr. Jackson's friends who were sharing this moment? He was awkwardly standing by himeself without friends around him. This makes me come to the conclusion Mr. Jackson was being somewhat opportunistic; he found the camera and made the play. That is what irritated me about the whole scene. Congrats Obama!

Wonderful day for African-Americans and all Americans indeed! This wonderful decision made by you has injected a sense of optimism into all of us! Well done, we never thought we'd see the day! All the best from your friends in Wales, UK. XX

i'm a 55 year old white guy , I didnt vote for President Obama but not because hes black.i just didnt agree on his taxing small business owners like myself, that simple. I cant afford any more cost.
Obama is my President now and i want him to succeed and be what we need here for all Americas. understand that theres alot of us out there that like Obama but have trouble with the tax issue. i hope he takes time to look at small business owners and what we have been though lately.
Business is down almost 60% percent and not getting any better. I have 10 employees and they have families too.I'm not getting much sleep knowing that i might have to close down my business and whats going to happen to those employees families. i dont care if i have to find work,but tese guys have little kids and they are just starting out. I DONT CARE WHO SCREWED THE ECONOMY, LIKE MY FATHER USED TO SAY "ITS IN THE PAST, LEAVE IT THERE"
the high Diesel fuel cost over the last year killed the transportation business.
I stopped taking a paycheck four months ago and used what savings i had to pay bills.
I've tried to get an SBA loan, but lack the good numbers to get one. its not good out here ,its like you have to have money to get money.
Mr.President Obama please help small businesses out here get some help,we dont want a hand out just some help.Thank You - Jess

I don't really feel for Jesse. He could have been Prez if he didn't denounce Farrakhan just for the white Jewish cause when they told him to shun him/u receive "no monetary values "from us." Who did Prez Obama take $ from! He did & it cost him. The next thing u know,he's at the 1Mill Man March w/ Farrakhan talking about "we don't care what they say(I was there up front bright & early)." Then he lowers Prez Obama." I have no passion for him! Check it out now. Right now, Israel is feeling real bad about the outcome of the election because their support came easily from w/in the White House for yrs. They now know that Prez Obama can help bring peace worldwide & not just America. Now Israel would have to stop their senseless slaughters & apartheid. Jesse's own son had to check him b/c Jesse knew their was an open mic somewhere-he's been doing this too long. He should cut off his own privates. This is more about MLK b/c he wanted all races & cultures to come together & b/c of Prez Obama they did. Young white people don't care too much about that racist crap anymore b/c those who preached racism left them w/ nothing(no &,social security,job security,etc). Its hard to be racist when ur barely floating in the same leaky,sinking boat w/ nowhere to go & no one to turn to! PS-u could see Jesse turn to the camera for attention. He knew what he was doing-balls comment & all! MLK would have been a REAL MAN about this!

jealousy gets people killed everyday its sad. He was crying because he thinks he was supposed to be up there. Jealousy is a HUGE problem in black people. He has shown this trait for many many years
Former Chicago Resident

Give me a break - JJ is the biggest racist this country has ever known with the exception maybe of Al Sharpton. He delights in nothing more than stirring up trouble, running away and then jumping back in to "save the day" and blame white people for treating minorities wrong. Tears were shed by him only for the sake of the camera - rest assured he only performed the sob party for the publicity he knew it would bring. He almost single handedly has kept racism alive - We white people aren't as racist as he wants blacks to believe and now the truth is out - America elected a black man for our President - Mr. Jackson has not a leg to stand on now. May the rest of us live a more unified existence without the likes of him ever gracing the airwaves again. His speeches peppered with hatred for anyone other than his own race should be removed from the face of the earth - his voice matters not one bit now. Thank God. IT TRULY IS A GREAT DAY.

I think that Jessie Jackson was crying because he finally got to see some results to Dr. King's dream.

But. I also and primarily I think that he was also crying because of the gaff he made with the open microphone incident and wonders how much recoginition he will get with the new upcoming administration and/or whether or not he will be totally blacklisted.

I thank God that President-elect has more honor, integrity and respect for humankind than Jessie Jackson does.

Jesse Jackson is a punk. His comments off the air at Fox earlier in the election prove that. Jesse was crying because he knows his ass is out of the spot light as an activist and bully. His intentions in his earlier years may have been true, but today he is nothing more than a black-mailer out of a job. You watch, in a year he and "Big Al Sharpton" will crucify Obama. They will ask, "What has he done for blacks in America?" Instead they had better ask, "What has he done for America?" Pieces of garbage like Jesse and Al are now slowly dissolving away because a new frontier has come to rise. They will again divide the nation for their own agendas and not the nations. Don't be fouled by his crocodile cautious!

I believe Rev.Jesse Jackson was moved by the milestone event,it was a moment of reflection from witnessing the violent assassination of MLK and the rough road of the many decades of struggle thereafter and the subsequent fulfilment of the dream.He was overwelmed with joy and pain at the same time.

Jackson is crying for the cameras because he doesn't want America to figure out that he swindled and strategized and PLAYed all of the short sighted people in this country to single-handedly get Obama in and elected... Brillant display of distancing himself from the flame... Lives were ruined and lots of money was paid. It's all a game, people, and Jackson is a master of the game. I'm sure some of his motives were noble - first African American in office (long overdue) but he is a man to be feared - and America will never have an attention span that is long enough to figure it out!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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