Rev. Jesse Jackson is coming to Chattanooga today. He will speak at Olivet Baptist Church at 5:30 p.m. in an attempt to convince Chattanoogans to avoid tomorrow's National Socialist Movement rally at the county courthouse.
Jackson is also coming to be paid and to further his career as what Booker T. Washington would call a "problem profiteer."
He, like the Nazis, needs to stay home.
Jackson earns his living by parlaying the problems of black folks into paid speaking engagements and corporate shakedowns. A reduction in those problems would mean a reduction in his profits. And he can't have that. So, above all else, Jackson is coming to Chattanooga to use tomorrow's visit by the Nazis to keep his fiscal hope alive.
The Nazis are a big, dumb and obvious target. Jackson can roll into town and rattle off some clichéd platitudes without having to offer any real solutions to any of the real, damaging and less flashy issues faced every day by the people he claims to represent. Then, he can move on to the next event where he's "needed."
Jackson told the Times Free Press that the visit by the Nazis is "designed to be provocative" and that "we should not pour fuel on that fire," but that is exactly what his visit is doing. The Nazis need buzz. They need opposing voices to show up. They need an angry mob in order to pump themselves up, and they need extras for yet another recruitment video.
They also need to be ignored.
But they won't be. A counterprotest is being organized, and Jackson's visit will undoubtedly be used by the Nazis as a marketing tool. Instead of being shunned, the Nazis will think that their message of hate is so important that Jesse Jackson had to be called in to combat it. They will think that, in the famous words of Jackson himself, "They are somebody."
Jesse Jackson says, "I didn’t come to provocate, but to reconciliate."
But it's too late.
For on this date, we took his bait.
Former Chattanooga Pulse Editor Bill Colrus writes about (in no particular order) news, culture and media. You can find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.