It would be rash and unfair to suggest that activists, like Rev. Jesse Jackson, had anything other than the best interests of a few Madison County landowners in mind as they continue to battle the state over eminent domain proceedings.
Perhaps it would be wrong to raise the possibility that these activists are really more interested in captivating the media’s attention, pushing an outdated political agenda and collecting a few donations for their organizations.
And maybe, just maybe, it isn’t fair to accuse Jesse Jackson of trying to take advantage of the situation by crying racism — again — and injustice — again — in Mississippi.
Maybe. But not likely.
While the issues in Madison County are important and are not simple — the government taking private land is always serious — Jackson’s repeated attempts to capitalize on the state’s history of racial strife has become tired, sad and does little more than contribute to the stereotype of Mississippi as a violent, unjust backwater. And that, of course, is not the Mississippi of 2001.
Charges of racism are too easily made these days, and quickly do irreparable damage. When unjustified, these cries of injustice ruin businesses, relationships and reputations, and can even destroy lives.
A reasonable resolution of the Madison County situation is likely. We expect common ground to be reached by the parties involved. However, the quickest way to get there is to ignore Jackson’s meddlesome, self-serving rhetoric and to work together — as Mississippians, black and white.