Jewish World Review Dec. 4, 2002 / 29 Kislev, 5763

La Shawn Barber

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Consumer Reports

Jesse, it's time
for a new hobby! | Jesse Jackson is the latest "civil rights defender" to jump aboard the anti-Augusta National Golf Club bandwagon.

Home of the Masters Golf Championship, the private Georgia club has a male-only membership policy, but allows women to play as guests.

Mr. Jackson is threatening to organize a boycott against the club in April 2003 if it doesn't begin admitting women.

"We support strongly the movement to end gender apartheid at Augusta National Golf Club," he declared. "Gender bigotry is as offensive as racial bigotry or religious bigotry."

Americans, of course, have the right to assemble with whomever they wish, and to not assemble with others for whatever reason they choose.

That Augusta's policy was challenged by the National Organization for Women (NOW) is no surprise. After all, NOW considers the club's policy "morally reprehensible" yet believes the "freedom to choose" to kill unborn babies is a sacred right.

But with all the real problems in America, Mr. Jackson is threatening to expend his energy protesting against "gender apartheid"? The reverend considers the Augusta controversy such a worthy cause that he plans to exert his efforts to infringe on the right of a private organization to assemble, when there are vastly more important matters to attend to?

Jesse Jackson, it's time to get a new hobby.

This sort of frivolous, faux issue is fine for liberal white women like Martha Burk, chairwoman of NOW. But for a so-called black leader, it's downright disgraceful.

And if that weren't bad enough, Mr. Jackson has even begun pressuring Tiger Woods. He wants the professional golfer to join his boycott and take up the mantle of outdated 1960s-style protest tactics. Why? Because Mr. Woods is "too much a beneficiary of our struggles to be neutral."

But Mr. Woods isn't neutral. He's actually been quite vocal about his beliefs --- that Augusta should accept women as members, but, since it is private, membership should be up to its members.

Here's the truth: Jesse Jackson is struggling to remain relevant in a world that has moved on without him. His latest, headline-grabbing "gender apartheid" cause is unhelpful at best, and distracting at worst.

Freedom to assemble and associate is just as legitimate as freedom from racial discrimination. You must choose, Mr. Jackson. Freedom for one means upholding freedom for all.

There are plenty of things Mr. Jackson could be protesting against. Here are a few:

  • The dismal failure of public schools, especially those in inner cities. He and his entourage should organize picket lines outside the offices of Democratic members of Congress, urging them to support school vouchers, the same Democrats who send their own kids to private schools. But then again, Mr. Jackson sent his own kids to private schools.

  • The 70% illegitimacy rate in the black community. In protest against this deviancy, Mr. Jackson should picket liberal members of Congress, urging them to support faith-based initiatives to encourage abstinence and promote marriage. It's what a Reverend would do.

  • That House Democrats passed over young, moderate, Harold Ford, Jr., for Minority Leader, in favor of rich, far-left, California liberal Nancy Pelosi, who supports abortion on demand at anytime--and marriage between anyone and anything--the sort of thing a "Reverend" should oppose. Mr. Jackson should be equally outraged by his party's tendency to select whites--especially white men--to positions of leadership, passing over qualified blacks.

  • In the spirit of protecting America, he should organize protests outside businesses and organizations of Muslims who refuse to stand up vocally against the more radical members of the "Religion of Peace" who hate America and are trying to destroy our way of life.

  • He should muster all the reinforcement at his disposal to protest against the high crime rate in black communities. Picket lines should form outside the homes and hangouts of gang members and other thugs who murder, rape and pillage in their own communities.

  • Lastly, the reverend should use his time picketing outside the offices of a despicable group like the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which advocates--among other disgusting things-- lowering the age of sexual consent for boys. Man, boy love--get it? Unfortunately, even a low-life group like this one has the right to freely assemble.

If these issues are not worthy of Mr. Jackson's time, perhaps he could take up stamp collecting or ice fishing. At least then he'd be doing something productive.

JWR contributor La Shawn Barber is a Washington, DC-based writer. Comment by clicking here.


© 2002, La Shawn Barber