March 27, 2018


Farrakhan and the Wizard Of Oz (Paul Berman, March 26, 2018, The Tablet)

It is true that, generally speaking, where Farrakhan has trod, grass has failed to grow. His successes are purely negative. He does not build up; he damages. He was Malcolm X's rival in the Black Muslim movement, and his invective appears to have led to Malcolm X's assassination. He was Jesse Jackson's most vigorous supporter during Jackson's historic campaign in 1984 for the Democratic party nomination for president, and his threats of violence against the Jews caused a devastating setback to Jackson's political career. He assembled the largest protest ever to occur in African-American history, the Million Man March in 1995, and, having gotten the entire universe to pay attention to him, he delivered a numerological oration about the mystical attributes of the number 19, which was broadcast to the nation, as if black America had nothing more urgent to say.

Just now he has cast a shadow over the Women's March by making the people who have emerged as its leaders appear to be animated by a bigotry of the extreme and racist right. And he has damaged the political prospects of Rep. Keith Ellison, the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, his one-time follower, who has explained that long ago he turned against Farrakhan, and was, in any case, his follower for only a brief period; but appears to have been his follower for a much longer period; and has said he has no relation with Farrakhan, and has not seen him recently; except that Farrakhan himself has proclaimed just now to a mass gathering of his followers that, on the contrary, Ellison conferred with him as recently as 2015. All of which means either that Ellison has damaged himself by being Farrakhan's follower, and by lying about it; or that Farrakhan has damaged Ellison by lying about a Farrakhan-Ellison connection that ended long ago.

Posted by at March 27, 2018 4:31 AM