Jesse Jackson Sort of Compared Rick Scott to George Wallace; Scott Demands Apology
Photo by Eric Guo via Wikimedia Commons
So, apparently, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called Florida an "Apartheid State" and the "Selma of our time" and made a comparison between Gov. Rick Scott and historically racist 1960s Alabama Gov. George Wallace.
Naturally, Scott is demanding an apology.
Jackson made the comments while visiting the Dream Defenders, who are staging a sit-in protest in Tallahassee until Scott calls a special session to examine the Stand Your Ground law.
So far, Scott has refused to comply with the group's demands, and the group has vowed to stick around until he does.
But now things have gotten incendiary with the appearance of Jackson and his comments.
" 'Stand your ground' laws must end," Jackson told reporters Tuesday. "The manipulation of African-Americans here is disgraceful."
He then went further, saying, "We've seen Southern governors before change their minds. Wallace said we couldn't go to the University of Alabama. He had to change his mind."
The reference there, of course, is when Wallace stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block two black students from entering the campus in 1963.
Wallace eventually apologized years later.
The inference, as Scott sees it, is that Florida's governor is a modern-day Wallace.
Scott responded with a statement on Wednesday:
"Jesse Jackson owes every Floridian an apology for his reckless and divisive comments. It is unfortunate that he would come to Florida to insult Floridians and divide our state at a time when we are striving for unity and healing. Floridians are a strong, resilient people. We are fortunate to live in a great state where all Floridians enjoy opportunities to get a great job and world-class education."
While Scott has been kind of a contrarian dick in outright refusing to even look into the law and declaring some sort of arbitrary day of prayer a couple of weeks ago to try to appease the protesters and other angry Floridians, he's got a point about Jackson.
What has been a well-organized, nuanced protest has suddenly turned unnecessarily ugly and decisive with the inclusion of a polarizing figure like Jackson.
When a movement by the people is taken away from them, it becomes a mess.
In this case, however, it might now become a circus -- which is worse.
The Dream Defenders are now, unfortunately, going to be unwittingly mixed in with Jackson's silly comments.
We rarely side with Scott on much (for obvious reasons), but he might have a point here.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.