Biden showing Al Sharpton in his re-election video is an insult
The video announcing President Joe Biden’s re-election lasts just three minutes — but that’s long enough to give us a sense of what Biden’s team and the Democratic Party think is a winning message for November 2024.
Part of this winning message: Al Sharpton.
Aside from Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, I think Sharpton is the only recognizable person outside of the Biden administration.
He appears in four separate frames a little over two minutes later, showing him walking with Biden to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where the great civil rights standoff of 1965 took place.
In these images, Sharpton does not fill the role of Martin Luther King, who is the focus of the famous photograph, but rather that of the wise religious men around King – men like Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
It’s a hideous resemblance, since Sharpton’s pivotal moment as a public figure came when he helped lead a pogrom in Brooklyn in 1991 after a tragic car accident in which a Hasidic Jew beat and killed a black boy.
During those three days of mob violence, Sharpton yelled into a microphone about “diamond dealers right here in Crown Heights” in the vanguard of a horde shouting “Kill the Jews!”
A student named Yankel Rosenbaum was stabbed.
Four years later, Sharpton called the Jewish owner of a Harlem building that housed a store called Freddy’s Fashion Mart a “white intruder” amid a rent dispute.
The mob he summoned then called the Jews “bloodsuckers” and yelled to “burn the Jews.”
The protests lasted two months until a gunman stormed the premises with a gun and set Freddy’s on fire. Seven people were killed.
When Al Gore ran for President in 2000, he found it necessary to kiss Sharpton’s ring a few times to keep the Rev from fighting him.
Sharpton expressed satisfaction with Gore’s kowtow.
But significantly, no picture was taken of the two, so venomous was Sharpton’s bare face.
Yes, it’s a quarter of a century later, and yes, Sharpton didn’t set fire to New York City again or play a role in the deaths of eight people like he did in the 1990s.
We all change, and Sharpton has a much milder presence in American public life; how could he have been more rebellious?
The Biden announcement video begins with images of the Jan. 6 mob storming the Capitol, and its clear overall message is that Biden must be re-elected to keep MAGA forces in check.
But long before MAGA was even a wink in Donald Trump’s eyes, Al Sharpton had perfected the art of performative political extremism — and here he is, with pride of place in the President’s historic declaration.
Sharpton has never been held accountable or held accountable for his monstrous words and behavior.
And he never will be. After all, Joe Biden wants African Americans to vote for him in record numbers in 2024, and to secure those votes he has decided to take on the breadth of Justice Jackson – who has spent her adulthood serving as a constructive force in the American public sphere serve life – to Al Sharpton.
And that’s an insult to Jackson, to African Americans, and to Americans as a whole.