The Rev. Reginald Thomas Jackson, the bishop over 500-plus African Methodist Episcopal congregations in Georgia, seems to think I and 63 million other Americans are racists. As quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal on Oct. 14, Jackson recently remarked, “Donald Trump is not the problem. He’s only a symptom of the problem. The problem is the 35% of this nation’s population he speaks for. Thirty-five percent of this nation’s population is racist.”

Where to begin! First of all, Mr. Trump amassed approximately half of all the votes cast for president in 2016. Jackson’s 35% figure appears to have been snatched out of thin air. The president certainly speaks for more than 35% of the population. Did the bishop mean that 35% of the 63 million were racists? Clarity, where art thou?

But Bishop Jackson wasn’t finished. Addressing the Georgia state NAACP convention he added, “For some of ya’ll, RNC means Republican National Convention. For me it means “Racist National Convention.”

How healing is that? How mean? How do such words help bridge the divide in our national political discourse? Right now in a flash I could list hundreds of friends who voted for Trump and who also are strong defenders of racial justice. Racists don’t reach out to people of a different color. They don’t volunteer to teach in schools of a different color or purposely support businesses run by those of a different color. They don’t go to integrated churches.

And true healers and lovers of all people don’t use incendiary language, especially if they are spiritual leaders. They don’t stereotype or trumpet un-forgiveness and getting even, a la Al Sharpton.

Let’s revisit the history of the “Racist National Convention” and compare it to the Bishop’s vicious characterization. Birthed in 1854, its first successful presidential candidate in 1860 ran an anti-slavery campaign. He won and ended slavery with the stroke of his pen. From then on, that president’s party advanced equality while the other national party became the refuge and seat of power for self-avowed, arch-segregationists. One member of that other major party whom the party never chose to censure was a West Virginia U.S. senator and former prominent KKK leader, Robert Byrd, who died as recently as 2010.

The “Racist National Convention” also fought for and helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 over the strong opposition of the other major party’s members who dominated committee chairmanships in the U.S. Senate. In time, by 1980, the “Racist Convention” would turn Southern politics upside down, all for the better. Meanwhile, Sen. Byrd was still using the N-word with nary a peep from his own party colleagues.

Bishop Jackson lamented that there are over 42 million blacks in America and only 500,000 NAACP members. That’s understandable since younger blacks are hearing from black “Racist National Convention” sympathizers like brain surgeon Dr. Ben Carson, activist Candice Owens, intellectual Thomas Sowell, Wall Street Journal writer Jason Riley, radio host Larry Elder, Professor Walter Williams and many others.

Let’s give the bishop the Bitter Lips award. In all fairness, let’s give the Filthy Mouth award to President Trump, but let’s not hold faultless those who have been just dandy with our culture’s R-rated movie and comedy filth, but who act appalled at the president’s language. To whom are our youth more attuned, who influences them more, the president or our filthy mouthed cultural icons? Mr. Trump didn’t start that landslide. Movies and television did.

One thing we must give the president credit for is his calling a spade a spade. If his mouth is filthy, his tongue is not forked. “Yea, yea” and “nay, nay” are refreshing after decades of “well, on the other hand” from so many politicians.

Filthy language is to be rebuked, but vivid understandable language is to be commended. “Drain the swamp” is language we deplorables understand and have been yearning for. Many in Congress have gotten rich from “public service” because of connections abroad or lobbying jobs taken after leaving Congress, thus “the swamp.” Knowledge obtained from years of “public service” has enriched more ex-U.S. senators of both parties than we can count.

It’s appears both parties are going to be outed as far as profiting from “public service” is concerned. Surely the president’s 63 million are thinking, “It’s about time.” His phone conversation with the Ukraine president stirred up a beehive. Democrats never dreamed the loose bees would be stinging them as well.

Loose lips sink ships. The much talk, the persistent accusations thrown at the president are turning toward his accusers. Ask the Bidens.

Roger Hines is a retired English teacher and state legislator in Kennesaw.


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