LOUIS DUBOSE Paul Simon BILL LEISSNER Michael Dukakis LOUIS DUBOSE Jesse Jackson tax policies that give corporations and investors a break but never the average wage-earner. They are people who can recognize “economic violence” when they see it and now need to be mobilized to stand up against it. This is a movement that after eight years of Reaganism could turn into a political whirlwind. The Democratic party ought to be putting itself in the vortex of such a movement. WHEN WE SAID at the beginning that Jackson is “reshaping the political landscape,” we did not mean simply that he is altering equations having to do with a delegate counts as the primary season unfolds or that he is forcing other candidates to take him into account at forums and debates. Jackson is changing ways of thinking about power among people who have, in campaign after campaign, heard a mild and sometimes unconvincing liberalism from one party and a bellicose and unrealistic free marketism from the other. Jackson widens the debate. On the campaign trail in Iowa, Jackson told a group of about 200 women in Des Moines that the problem with the other Democrats was not that any of them were not liberal. As reported by Chicago journalist David Moberg, Jackson reflected on a recent Democratic debate: “They all gave liberal answers,” Jackson said, continuing, “They were not liberated. Beyond liberalism and doing things for poor people, there is liberation and people doing things for themselves. Each candidate said, ‘I’ll give you a tricycle, a job, day care, medical care.’ What’s fundamental is not programs for the rejected. What’s important is for them to be empowered to generate programs for themselves. Am I my brother’s keeper? No, I am not my brother or sister’s keeper. I am my brother or sister’s brother, and that’s enough. Everything else flows from respect. . . . If people have their share of power, they will have their share of programs.” Moberg went on to quote Dixon Terry, a farm leader, on the effect of the Jackson campaign: “I really think Iowa willnever be the same culturally and politically. He’s had a major impact on the state like no other politician. To see what’s happening with Jackson here and to see how people have been forced to change their thinking is something that goes way beyond one election.” Jackson’s appeal to such voters is one way that his campaign this year is substantially different from his 1984 campaign, when he wasn’t able to extend his support much beyond the black community. The “Jewish question” still follows him. His unfortunate past association with an openly racist and anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan is, of course, a serious concern. It is one that Jackson addressed in his speech to the 1984 Democratic convention, when he said, “If in my low moments . *. . through some error or temper, taste or tone, I have caused anyone discomfort, created pain or revived someone’s fears, that was not my truest self.” In 1988, it seems that Jackson has put Farrakhan squarely behind him. Jackson’s campaign is now managed by Gerald Austin, who is Jewish. And we hope Jackson is making honest attempts to come to terms with the American Jewish community. The Farrakhan incident and Jackson’s “Hymie Town” remarks leave some wondering if other anti-Semitic sentiments lurk beneath Jackson’s public persona. These are no small concerns, and each of us must examine them carefully and weigh them against the good that the evolving Jackson movement has and might yet create. IN THE LIGHT of the campaign Jackson is trying to run, let’s consider the other Democratic candidates who are shaping the 1988 race. Senator Paul Simon of Illinois reaffirMs traditional Democratic party liberalism, and without apology. His idea that the Democrats ought to put a jobs program front arid center is a good one. We are not unsympathetic with his insistence that public debt is out of hand it results in a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the wealthy bondholding class and it eats up too much of the government budget in interest but he has not been able to convincingly reconcile his public spending theme with his message on the evils of debt. And the strength of his feeling about the debt seems to push him toward ill-conceived schemes: his support for a balanced budget amendment and for the odious Gramm-Rudman budget-slicing law, to name a couple. Simon is right to say that “we have to de-escalate the arms race,” and to spend “less of our natural resources on arms and to spend those resources doing all the things that we could do to enrich the lives of our people,” as he said at a forum in Austin in December. But he also spoke on that occasion of “deficiencies” in the arsenal of “conventional” weapons. “We must strengthen conventional defenses,” he said. “I think it has to be done.” This was the same forum at which Simon declined to reject the first use of nuclear arms, saying that if the Soviets moved into Western Europe he could foresee introducing nuclear weapons into the conflict. \(See TO, Not that we expect to agree with candidates on all issues, but we have not found Simon consistently inspiring in his political content nor in his style, which is THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5
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