Timehost: Tonight we launch the first in
a series of TIME chats dedicated to
Black History Month. Our guest, Jesse Jackson, Jr., is a man who has been
involved in the civil rights
struggle basically since he was in diapers!
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: (Laughs)
Timehost: After serving as National Field
Director for the Rainbow Coalition, he's
now taken his agenda for change to Congress, where he sits as the representative
for the Second Congressional District of Illinois. Welcome,
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Thank you very
much. It's an honor to be here tonight.
Timehost: Let's go to our first
wibbs_99 asks: Rep. Jackson, you recently stated that the same southern-based
elitist economic and political forces that tried to oust Andrew Johnson are now
work on Clinton. Could you explain what you meant?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Rep. Jesse
Jackson Jr.: Thank you very much for your question.
At www.jessejacksonjr.org, I have an article entitled "Underlying the
Crisis." There I pose a thesis that African-American history provides
some insight into the current crisis. Abraham Lincoln was reelected in 1864.
In an effort to reach out to the South he appointed Andrew
Johnson, a Southern Confederate sympathizer as his vice president.
President Johnson was fundamentally against the
reconstruction efforts of building a big central government that could provide
security for all Americans. Republicans at that time were upset with Southern
reentry into the Union
and investigated Johnson and used the excuse of his firing a Cabinet secretary
as the basis
for impeaching him. But they were really concerned about his lack of attention
reconstruction. In 1936, in FDR's second campaign, African Americans moved from
the then Republican Party to
the Democratic Party where their economic, political and social interests have
vested ever since. In 1992 and 1996, those political, social and cultural
interests vested in Bill Clinton. The Judiciary Committee, made up of mostly
used Monica Lewinsky as an excuse to go after the President because like
Lincoln, Clinton wanted and wants a
government that provide health care, economic security for all, which the
states' rights forces in the Congress
continue to fight against 130 years after the Civil War.
lepaord asks: Do you think the president will be impeached?
Timehost: I think what the questioner
meant was "will be convicted" by the Senate...
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: The President
was impeached by the House of Representatives
and history will forever note that Clinton was impeached. It is clear, however,
that there are insufficient numbers to
remove Clinton in the Senate. I watched the Super Bowl with President Clinton
Clinton at Camp David and their spirits are very high and they are determined to
do the people's work.
MaryMargo_39730 asks: Do you think that what Pres. Clinton did was wrong?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: I believe, as
most Americans believe, that the President's actions were deplorable
and beneath the dignity of the President. I also believe that I was one of the
few Democrats in the House
who called for the President to tell the truth about his testimony under
oath (see the USA Today article at www.jessejacksonjr.org on the date of the
However, I do not believe that the President's behavior reaches the
Constitutional standard for
removing him from office.
CollegeChatter asks: Do you approve of the President's idea to risk social
money in the stock market?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: I do not. And he
and I discussed this over breakfast this morning.
At www.jessejacksonjr.org, I wrote and article called "What Social Security
In this position paper, as I argued at breakfast with the
President this morning, there are two groups of people in the private
winners and losers. Social Security was designed as a societal remedy for senior
citizens to assure them that they will not have to live in poverty.
The article at my web site lays out this argument, I think, in a
compelling way. Please do me a favor and join my e-mail distribution list
while you are there.
Ishan_1999 asks: Do you believe we have seen the end of the Republican Party?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: I do not believe
we've seen the end of tyranny either in the
Republican Party or manifestations of it in the Democratic Party.
The price we pay for our freedom, someone once said, is
jessica3317 asks: Today is the anniversary of the first of the days when the
African-American students began protesting at the lunch counter in Woolworth's.
Do you feel that those protests made a lasting impact?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: It did in my
life. I attended North Carolina A&T State U in Greensboro N.C.
Where the sit-ins at that Woolworth's took place. They were actually A&T
students who began the protests.
My father became president of NC A&T student body and
continued those protests two years after they had begun. American history can be
divided into three categories.
From 1619 to 1859, I call it the tremor. Between 1860 and 1865, I call it the
1866 to the impeachment of Bill Clinton are all aftershocks from the Great War
that set our nation on a path to
reconstruction. We have yet to reconstruct America for all Americans
regardless of their color, when you look at our education system, from health
for all to affordable housing for all. Once we have eliminated economic anxiety
issues for all
Americans, all Americans can then proclaim, rich and poor, black and white: "We
are free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are
free at last."
bean_in_swphillyhouse asks: Congressman, what is your position on black
oppression (namely in the inner cities) ?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: If I understand
the question correctly, the inner cities, presently, do not have the same kind
economic investment as the suburbs have. For the last 18 years, the district
that I represent has had negative economic
growth of -2 percent. Some of my colleagues are posting economic growth
amongst their constituents upwards of around 18 or 20 percent. If we can grow
the economy with balanced growth for all,
leaving no American behind, unemployment, crime, drug abuse, prostitution,
and distributions, would be less oppressive as a form of escape.
babkababy asks: What is the single biggest problem facing the African American
community today? What's the solution?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Dr.King once
said that we are inextricably linked
in a common bond of mutuality. A famous poet, Done, once said, "No man is an
island entire of itself."
Every man is a part of the continent, a piece of the main....In other words, our
country is experiencing unparalleled economic growth
in history, but not everyone is participating. The second biggest problem is
getting African Americans,
whites, male and female, who want to make opportunity and growth available for
all to sign my distribution list on my web site at
www.jessejacksonjr.org so that I can update them on how we are going to create
growth for everybody.
feline27 asks: Mr. Jackson do you think historical black colleges are receiving
same funding as white colleges?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: They are not. I
was just appointed to the labor HHS subcommittee on
appropriations and if I remain on this subcommittee over the course of my
Congressional career, I hope to increase this funding. But the only way you will
know about this
is if you become a frequent visitor to
BUSTA_BALLA asks: Hey Mr. Jackson,I admire you a lot as a role
model and I think I'm the only kid who looks up to
politicians. So, how do you handle racism and what can we do to
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr: This is a very difficult question. Tomorrow I will speak
to the State Department as its Black History Month speaker.
And directly and indirectly, I will have to address this
subject matter. Racism must be seen in four different ways. But before that,
there is no problem with race.
The problem is RACISM. Number one: It must be seen as a philosophical concept
where through philosophy one justifies the superiority of
one's race. Number two: Behavior. Burning a cross or a crucifix or swastika in
someone's yard. Number three: Prejudice. Prejudging someone, an individual,
based on a group
stereotype. And number four, and probably the most difficult: Institutional.
Where there're all white guys on all the news programs
or in Congress, or in the Senate or are Presidents of the U.S. and we are not
actively fighting to change that.
Thank you NTAL ALIMASY for joining my distribution
mustang1_1 asks: Congressman Jackson, what would you tell young kids to think
most in life and what to do in life to succeed? By the way, we're in night
and everyone is looking around the computer, so please answer.
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Thank you for
your questions. This is a question I have given a lot of thought to
and have even given commencement speeches in high school and
colleges. It is a mathematical formula. Success equals opportunity plus
Success does not equal opportunity. The doors to success can be wide open, but
if you are too
drunk or too high to stagger through them, you will not make it.
Success does not equal preparation. You can study as hard as you want to, and
you must, but
if there is no opportunity, you will join the ranks of the
unemployed. Only when your preparation through skills, character,
education, come together with growing opportunity for all,
can one claim to be successful. I have applied this same concept to Michael
On any given day, not only is he extremely prepared as an
offensive basketball player -- whenever the opportunity presents itself, he
That's how we measure it.
LanceMan20 asks: Mr. Jackson. I met you about two years ago at a cancer
foundation fund raiser. Thank you for the advice you personally gave me. I have
used it everyday since then. Thank you very much once again. L. Gordon,
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: I hope you will
all join my e-mail distribution list. I want to
thank network 21 who e-mailed at least 1,000 people today letting them know of
my appearance on Yahoo!.
I hope all who are participating in this chat will come to my
site and join my e-mail list so that we might be connected on a regular basis:
AntonSolo asks: Congressman Jackson, has being the son of such an icon in the
civil rights movement helped or hindered your personal and professional life?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: I have inherited
my father's friends and his detractors.
But here is the key: I have earned neither. And so I work very hard for my
friends to become my friends. And I hope through my service in the Congress, the
detractors will come to appreciate my work.
In a strange way, some of my father's detractors have developed a new
appreciation of him because of his children.
SNTR2BE asks: Congressman, who, if anyone, should/do you see leading the charge
for the African-American people?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: When I wrote the
article on my web site titled "Underlying
the Impeachment Crisis," I sincerely believed that because of our unique
America, our history provides us with insight on how Democrats and Republicans
behave at any hour in our current history. Our community need only embrace what
God has given us
and with that insight I believe we can lead everybody.
ks4d9er asks: Mr. Jackson what your goals as a congressman?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: To create an
economy with balanced growth for all, leaving
no American behind. If during the Korean War we can go back and find every
American left behind, if during the Vietnam War we can find every American left
behind, if during the Gulf War we committed ourselves to leaving
no American in the field, then during peacetime why are families homeless, why
we fighting over lunch programs for children? During a peacetime economy with
balanced growth, we
must leave no American behind.
rcbythesea asks: Have you decided if you will run for presidency?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Let me first
begin by thanking Jonasha Mackey for joining my
distribution list at www.jessejacksonjr.org/distlist.htm. I ran for public
office because I wanted to help people in my
district. I've been here for only three years and what I have found is that
there are people who need help
everywhere. I do not know what the future holds. I really want to have a family
one day and I'm not sure I want to raise
them in the public eye. However, the quickest way to find out is by joining my
distribution list at www.jessejacksonjr.org. I should also tell you that I despise
raising money to run for
public office. But I was fortunate enough to develop a web site where
contributions can be accepted securely. My site, actually pages me personally
are received and I always call people back within 15 minutes.
Nice_Girl_Forever asks: Mr. Jesse Jackson, do you know if your father will run
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: I have
encouraged him to do so because I believe he represents a clear vision that is
inclusive of all
jessica3317 asks: Would you rather see an African-American president or a woman
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Color and gender
are insignificant compared to direction.
I would rather have nine white guys who would render a
unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education that established
the principle of equal protection under the law for
everybody than today's Supreme Court with two women, an African
American and right wing ideologues who deny people their basic human rights.
Jack_Kennedy_ asks: Do you think Speaker Hastert will help lead the House in a
more bi-partisan fashion?
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr: I hope so. He will have a very difficult job before him,
predecessors have done great damage to the cause of a more perfect union.
Timehost: Our time is just about up, so
we'll end with this comment from a fan of yours in the
onelargecutie27 asks: Hi, Mr.Jackson. Just want to say how much I admire you and
father. Thanks for everything you have done and are still doing.
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Thank you very
much for your support. How can I reach you? The only way I can reach you, I
think, is at www.jessejacksonjr.org. This has been a lot of fun. Thank you very
Timehost: Thank you for joining us! We
enjoyed it a lot!
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