|What if Al Sharpton
jumped in front of the Vigilance Parade instead of the Racism Parade?
Would the world follow? Find out.
7, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 513
Al Sharpton: Beast of Racial
Terror Or Presidential Contender?
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Feb. 7--Critics say
Reverend Al Sharpton is a Beast of Racial Terror. Others claim
he is a viable candidate for President of the United States.
In either case, he's a Voice.
The Sylvia and
Danny Kaye Auditorium at Hunter College
In fact, for many, he's
the Black Voice of America.
My wife and I went to see
Reverend Sharpton speak last night at Hunter College in Manhattan.
It wasn't very crowded so we were able to secure front-row seats.
I'm a white Republican Conservative by political nature from Orange
County, California, one of America's conservative hot beds.
But, I'm also a TerrorHunter, and I force myself to shed as much of my
political skin as humanely possible so I can look at issues without
tainted glasses--a feat not easy for anyone.
Sharpton responding to question from Karen Hunter
My first impression of Al Sharpton is that he is a
"racial terrorist," a guy who likes to foment angst between blacks and
whites so he might gain national attention, shifting the spotlight
away from the causes he trumpets onto his James Brown hairstyle and
his virulent attacks on the "white world" seeking to oppress the
My prejudice against Sharpton pops up in
many ways I have to guard against. First, I think of the
definition of leadership I once heard: "Leadership is finding
out which direction everyone is going and running to the front of
parade and leading it."
For the most part, I see Sharpton through
the foggy lenses of being a "racial opportunist" versus a Martin
Luther King statesman. Opportunists are those who leap into the
spotlight to jimmy their agenda up the flagpole at the expense of
those they champion.
Statesmen of the Martin Luther
King ilk are those who promote Vigilance for the Children's Children's
Children, more concerned with what is right for all in the long run
than what is just for the few in the short run.
Sharpton's background doesn't
lend him much credibility in the statesman arena.
His "reverendship" was given to
him when he was ten years old. He started preaching from the
Pentecostal pulpit when he was four years old, and six years later was
"ordained." He was the star "child" preacher on tour with
famed gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.
Jessie Jackson appointed him youth director for
Operation Breadbasket in 1969, an organization that boycotted and
demonstrated against businesses that were not hiring blacks.
January 15, 1981 James Brown took Al
Sharpton to get his hair done like his and made Sharpton vow to
keep it like that until he died.
coiffed Reverend Al Sharpton
'ala James Brown'
1973 Sharpton became touring manager for rock-and-roll icon, James
Brown, serving in that capacity until the early 80's when he began to
press his foot down on the racial protest accelerator.
Sharpton started to ignite the racial protest
radar in 1986 when he organized demonstrations in the aftermath of the
Howard Beach incident, in which a crowd of whites chased a black man
named Michael Griffiths onto a highway. Griffiths was struck and
killed by a vehicle.
Two years later he stirred the racial pot
by championing the cause of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager who
claimed she had been abducted and raped by a gang of whites. The
grand jury found the incident was but a hoax. The press
pigeonholed Sharpton as a "racial opportunist."
He continued to rail against "white
oppression," and in 1991 was stabbed in the chest by a white man as he
was preparing to lead a protest march in Bensonhurst following a black
youth being attacked by a white mob.
In 1997 he led demonstrations against
police brutality in following the torture of Haitian immigrant Abner
After the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo by
the NYPD, newly elected Mayor Giuliani sought a meeting with the
victim's mother to express his sorrow and defuse racial tensions in
the city. Sharpton interceded and blocked the mayor from
meeting with her, fueling the fires of dissent between the black and
Heather MacDonald, a reporter for the
Wall Street Journal, reported Sharpton told black church leaders
to deny Mayor Giuliani access to the pulpits so he could communicate
with New York City's black community.
MacDonald stated in her article: "All this adds up to more
business for the reverend and more trouble for the police.
The antipolice animus Mr. Sharpton foments makes public safety and the
successful prosecution of crime more difficult to achieve.
kibitzing with Sharpton
Politically, Sharpton ran unsuccessfully in the 1992 and 1994
Democratic primaries for the U.S. Senate from New York. In 1997
he won 32 percent of the Democratic votes for mayor of New York City.
Now, he's on the stump tour to collect
votes for a Presidential bid, and, to sell his new book, "Al On
America," authored by Sharpton and Karen Hunter, a newspaper columnist
and co-author of "Queen Latifah."
His strategy for becoming the 2004
Democratic Presidential candidate is, according to his book: "I
am running to take out the DLC, which I call the Democratic Leisure
Class, because that's who it serves--the leisure class and the
In October 2001, Sharpton went to Israel to
repair divisions between the Black and Jewish Communities. He
met with Israeli leaders and then, to the surprise and anger of the
Israeli community, met with Yassar Arafat.
Recently, he served a 90-day sentence for
protesting the U.S. Navy's practice bombing rights on the island of
Vieques in Puerto Rico.
Security guard yells at Reverend Sharpton during his arrest for
entering US Navy lands on May 1, 2001 on Vieques, Puerto Rico
critics he says, " They underestimate my power. They ignore I
got 32 percent of the votes in New York--and a bunch of those votes
had to be white votes."
Last night, he was tossed softball
questions by Karen Hunter who interviewed him on stage.
The team's purpose was to sell books, which were displayed in the
lobby of the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Theater on the Hunter College
campus where his interview was conducted before an audience that was
approximately 60 percent white and 40 percent black.
Sharpton is entertaining, of that
there is no doubt.
The first question Ms. Hunter asked was
about his hair. Sharpton skillfully orated that James Brown had
taught him how to do his hair, and he planned on keeping it that way
even if elected President.
I was hoping that Sharpton might use the
word "Vigilance" in his reply to Ms. Hunter's questions, plus those
written by audience members. Unfortunately, he stuck to
the race issue in America, his main campaign and his book's theme.
I did my best to keep an open mind, as hard
as it was to fight off my own Beast of Terror who wanted me to write
off Sharpton as an angry Voice in the wind, an egotistical opportunist
who leaps out in front of the madding crowd to strut before television
cameras in hopes his stock value might elevate.
Sharpton lambasted President Bush on
the affirmative action issue, as well as others, claiming that
President Bush had been the recipient of "educational preferences"
because of his father's influence. He cited how President Bush
got "points" when he applied to the college that secured his
acceptance. He said there wasn't any difference between what
Bush used to propel himself into Yale and giving minorities bonus
points on their college applications.
I found myself capturing Sharpton's
hands with my camera as he spoke. His constant
gesticulations with fingers pointing and clasping, his gestures as he
answered the questions, were symphonic. He reminded me of
an orchestra leader signaling to the audience his emotional
temperature through his waving digits.
"Hands of Sharpton Picture Page" for a composite of
his hand gestures, a salute to his skill at keeping an audience
riveted not necessarily to his lips or the words passing over them,
but to his histrionical manner of expressing them.
I was glad I attended his talk.
Even though he was as narrow in his
viewpoint as those who stand opposite him, he represented the Vigilant
Principle of Action. He was certainly not Complacent.
Armchair critics of Reverend Sharpton may
be quick to depreciate his words and actions as self-serving egotism,
an attempt to walk in the shadow of great black leaders such as Martin
Luther King. There was little doubt his message was
not intended to sweep a mixed audience off their feet, but rather was
targeted to excite black and minority response. He
kept the fences clear between "white and black" America, and never
attempted to straddle them. At least he was honest in that
I find it, however, discouraging that those
who represent the disenfranchised don't rise above the obvious, worn
pulpits of racism. It seems that Mr. Sharpton could
easily move himself into another arena of greater scope and deeper
keel were he to address the Beast of Terror that exists just below
skin color, below religious preference, underneath cultural variation
and ethnic DMZ's.
The true oppressed are those who live in
the shadow of the Beast of Terror--the blacks, browns, whites, yellows
who are often not aware that roiling beneath their flesh, burrowed in
the marrow of their being, is Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
These three Triads of Terrorism have
little to do with race, color, or creed. They are equal
opportunity "Demons of Terror," striking all humanity with equal
force--the rich and poor, the privileged and underprivileged
The Triads of
Terrorism are equal opportunity "Demons of Terror"
A woman recently rammed her car repeatedly into her husband, smashing
him against a brick wall in a parking garage while her stepdaughter
sat next to her. The rage and anger unleashed within
her was as primal as a Klu Klux Klan Pit Bull trained to attack blacks
The foster care system that is so
negligent it allows children to be chained to beds, or locked in
basements for days, certainly suggests a horrific Beast of Terror that
uses the young and innocent as slaves of adult Terror, victims of the
negligence as Parents of Vigilance.
I would think Al Sharpton might have
a giant Voice in American and world politics were he to use his power
of Voice and purpose to elevate human attention away from the issues
of racism and aim his sights to the Beast of Terror, the one who
stalks us all when we look in the mirror and feel the Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency of unworthiness, of being less than, of
I thought that perhaps had Mr.
Sharpton's book been titled, "Al On Vigilance In America and the
World," he might have a much broader readership and certainly a far
more global appeal. I think he forgets we are slaves first
to the Beast of Terror, and secondly to the societies and cultures in
which we exist. We cannot rid ourselves of prejudice and
bigotry from without until we have attacked it within.
Sharpton has a magical way of making us
laugh at the enemy. Last night, I was captivated by
Sharpton's persona. He had no righteous airs other than his
position that the problem was about black versus white.
While I don't go there, I understand how easy it is to get stuck in
the quagmire of racism as the root of all evil. It sells papers.
It generates funding. It attracts people to the choir.
Reverend Sharpton signing his book "Al on
racism is nothing more than the pustules of Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency popping out on the surface of the skin. The real
virus, Terrorism, still roams through the blood stream.
Healing a pustule here and a pustule there does not get to the core of
racism. It does not do anything than disappoint those who
believe because this sore is gone all future sores will vanish also.
Everyone knows that isn't true. Racism will exist ad infinitum.
It's part of human nature.
I always think of Star Trek Voyager when I
think of racism. I think of the Klingons. I think of how,
in the future, we're hurling through unknown space trying to rid
ourselves of our prejudice and bigotry as we examine the stars and
galaxies. I am not suggesting we drop the issue of racism,
but rather we adjust racism from being the primary platform of dissent
and turn our attention to its mother and father, its
Racism has always been the outcropping of
human Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. When one group
righteously believes itself better than another, or, for that matter,
lesser than another, racism roams free. Racism isn't just about
looking down on others with disdain, it also includes looking up with
envy and angst.
color blind. It is also economically and culturally blind.
It is blind to religion and creed.
It sees all children of one color, one race, one
creed--innocent, vulnerable, in need of protection not from those who
might attempt to oppress it from without, but from those demons of
pride, anger, greed, lust, envy, gluttony and sloth that wish to
attack it from within.
Al Sharpton could be a powerful Voice of
Vigilance a harbinger of Global Sentinels of Vigilance who, rather
than attack the differences between others, extol the commonality and
the duty to become Parents of Vigilance for the security of the
Children's Children's Children.
If he were to follow his history of leaping out
in front of causes and capturing the limelight, this would be a great
opportunity for him to champion the Voice of Vigilance.
Instead of lighting the fires of racism, he could turn their power
into fuel for destroying racism by reminding all those who claim to be
victims of it, that racism is just a pimple on a the Beast of Terror's
buttock, just a signpost of how human Complacency allows the Beast to
roam the streets of humanity unleashed and unfettered because we
attack the symptoms of racism, not the causes.
Racism is all about one's Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency conspiring in the form of skin color or ethnicity to
create a mask denying one group over another equal rights as a human
being. To strip that mask's skin back, we need to
see beyond the racism and prejudice. The only way humans
can shed their preconceived notions of human difference is through the
innocence of children.
A room full of small, beautiful babies of all
shapes, sizes, colors represent not the cleavages of human
differences, but instead, their unanimity.
between of children coalesce and become one body of Innocence
the telescope we use to see into the future. If we are following
the Vigilance Formula, we face Fear with Courage, Intimidation with
Conviction and Complacency with Right Actions to the benefit of the
Children's Children's Children.
Looking out three generations, the
differences between all children coalesce. They become one body
of Innocence, one nursery guarded by Sentinels of Vigilance who have
learned that Terrorism is not the result of despots, but the result of
human Parental Negligence. If we feed our children more Fear
than Courage, more Intimidation than Conviction and more Complacency
than Right Actions for the future of the Children, they will be
Terrorists--either against themselves or others.
They will ultimately become "victims of
oppression," for the Beast of Terror Within will gnaw their equality
among all to the bone and spit them out on a pile of regurgitated
waste humans have hurled for centuries in their quest to protect their
differences rather than expand their universalities.
All humans enjoy equal doses of Courage, Fear,
Conviction, Intimidation, Right Actions and Complacency. But
because we have Free Will, we can exercise One Percent more Courage
than Fear, One Percent more Conviction than Intimidation, and One
Percent more Right Action than Complacency. And, if we focus
that One Percent More Energy on protecting our Children from the Beast
of Terror's wrath, the world will change.
There is a
Child of Innocence in all of us
will shed the scales that blind them when they see color, or creed, or
religion, or economic, or cultural differences. These will
only become shrouds covering the Soul of Innocence. For
when one human sees the Child of Vigilance in another human, all the
And if one human is a Parent or Citizen of
Vigilance, subscribing to the Pledge of Vigilance and Principles of
Vigilance, and he or she interacts with another Parent or Citizen of
Vigilance, each knows the kinship of the other. It
is no longer necessary under the Vigilance Formula that blacks alone
are "brothers" and "sisters," or that whites alone are "brothers" and
"sisters," or that yellows and browns are "brothers" and "sisters."
What is necessary is that each knows within the other is a Beast of
Terror, and that each knows also within the other is a Parent of
Vigilance, armed with the Sword and Shield of Vigilance to ward off
the Beast's demand that each see the differences not the similarity,
that each work out the problems of interaction not to sate selfish,
immediate gains, but to protect the future of the Children's
Children's Children to whom they are duty bound both by Nature and
races are duty bound by Nature and God to protect the future of
the Children's Children's Children
Reverend Sharpton could become far more important than
the President of the United States were he to change slightly
his attack on racism. He could point not to
the white community as the "source of evil and oppression,"
but shift his target to the true and great enemy of all--the
Beast of Terror.
Yes, if Al Sharpton were
to jump in the front of the Vigilance Parade, who knows
where it would lead?
And you, the reader?
You can jump in front of the parade rather than waiting
for Al or anyone else to ponder if it is worth it or not.
You can be there in the
stroke of a pen. Just download the Pledge of Vigilance
and sign it...and live by it.
(Go To "Hands Of Sharpton"
Feb 6.--CBS's Beast Of Terror Raises
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