Jesse Jackson: MLK would have been ‘concerned’ about LGBT issues, federal debt ceiling

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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It has been nearly 48 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I have a dream speech” in Washington, D.C. and this weekend a memorial will be dedicated to commemorate King’s legacy. But what would the civil rights leader have to say about the issues facing the nation in 2011?

On Monday on MSNBC, host Thomas Roberts asked Rainbow PUSH Coalition founder and president Jesse Jackson that question. Jackson stood alongside King during the civil rights era. What did Roberts want to know? Whether “LGBT equality” would be a fixture of King’s civil rights focus today.

“Of course it would be,” Jackson said. “He believed human rights would be measured by one yardstick for all human beings. He would be delighted that President Barack Obama is the president. And the night he won, I thought about if Dr. King could have been there just for a moment, to see a fruit of his labor, he would be proud of him.”

Jackson also weighed in on funding for social programs, the federal budget, and what he called too much “concentrated wealth.”


“He’d be very mindful of the foes of President Obama, those that in fact attack him relentlessly, as he used his powers to stop the hemorrhaging of 100,000 jobs a month. A measured stimulus that got us in the right direction. He would be concerned about those that would hold up the budget to fight Planned Parenthood or gender equality for women, those who would hijack the debt ceiling issue and take away vital resources from working poor people. That would be on his mind.

“I think as I see him standing up there the issue of too much wealth, or what too many wars and too much poverty would be very much part of his agenda. Too much concentrated wealth. Too many wars and too much poverty. He’d be right in the middle of that debate.”