A new Associated Press poll indicates that one-third of American blacks feel there is no black political figure of consequence in America. Of those who decided to "name names," fifteen percent said the country’s "most important black leader" is Jesse Jackson, eleven percent picked Condi Rice, eight percent picked Colin Powell, and six percent picked Barack Obama.
Overall, this poll represents good news when it comes to American race relations. While I’m far from thrilled that shakedown artist Jackson finished first among named political figures, one can make the case that Jackson is the least obnoxious of the "Big Three" post-MLK civil rights leaders, the others being the odious Al Sharpton and "Calypso Louie" Farrakhan.
Many lefties are undoubtedly galled by the fact that the nation’s two most prominent black Republicans, Rice and Powell, received a combined nineteen percent: this suggests that despite the left’s extensive efforts over the last half-decade to characterize Rice and Powell as self-hating African-Americans deserving of derision, they are still recognized in some quarters as worthy of respect.
Had I been questioned, I would have joined the one-third of respondents who didn’t name anyone as the nation’s "most important black leader"; as I indicated shortly after the passing of Rosa Parks, the civil rights movement died in earnest several decades ago, and has since been taken over by figures who were either in it strictly for the money (Jackson) or obsessed with peddling wild conspiracy theories (Farrakhan). While we honored Coretta Scott King for bleeding, sweating, and crying to keep her late husband’s dream alive, we also acknowledged to ourselves that her efforts were ultimately Sisyphean due to the manipulation of the movement on the part of those who "replaced" King.
I wouldn’t have named either Rice or Powell as the "most important black leader" largely because I view them as important American leaders who just happen to be black (it’s that whole thing about judging people by the content of their character, and not other factors). However, I can’t help enjoying the frustration that many on the left must feel at seeing Rice finish so strongly in this poll. Imagine if Dick Cheney were compelled to resign due to the current buckshot brouhaha, and President Bush nominated Rice to replace him as VP. How well would Rice perform on this sort of poll then? And if she did supplant Jackson as the country’s "most important black leader," just how angry would the Angry Left get?