The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Saturday called on people to flood the phone lines and fill the e-mail inboxes of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s office after she pointed a finger at President Barack Obama during a heated exchange on a tarmac outside a Phoenix airport this week.
Calling Brewer’s gesture, “the ultimate insult,” Jackson told the crowd at the Rainbow PUSH headquarters, as well as to those “all around the country, you call the governor’s office next week.”
He gave out an 800-number to Brewer’s office, and urged those who call to say, “We don’t need her finger.”
Jackson also called on Brewer to apologize for her finger pointing at the president, and to “put her hand in her pocket.”
He also suggested that other actions directed at the state of Arizona such as boycotts, could be part of the action, saying that “until she apologizes and puts her hand in her pocket … we do not need Arizona … until they learn how to respect somebody.”
“Even George Wallace never put his finger in Dr. King’s face,” Jackson said. “She should not get away with that. She knew the cameras were rolling. She knew what she was doing.”
Recalling that incident and reflecting on the Republican presidential campaign, Jackson said, “We’ve seen the right wing show its ugly face.”
Jackson didn’t quite drop the race card on Brewer, but others did:
Reaction to the Jan Brewer encounter is still bubbling, with some black commentators now suggesting the image of the Arizona governor wagging her finger at the President of the United States has touched a nerve in the African American community.
On MSNBC Thursday, Al Sharpton posited that Brewer’s treatment of President Obama was another example of disrespect in a list of many for the nation’s first black president. His guest, Sirius XM host Joe Madison, said such incidents show that there are people “who cannot stand the fact that this is an African-American who is now one of the most powerful individuals on the planet,” Mediaite reported.
An NAACP official went a few steps further in an interview with POLITICO Friday, saying the tiff played on age-old and discriminatory stereotypes of whites being superior to blacks. Hilary O. Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy and policy at the NAACP, said he was particularly disturbed by Brewer telling reporters afterward that she “felt a bit threatened if you will, in the attitude that he had.”
Somehow I can’t help but feel that if “Governor” Obama had told of “President” Brewer under similar circumstances, we would still be hearing the usual suspects explain how it was all Brewer’s fault.