Last night I was very pleased to be at the Bethel AME Church in New Haven with CT Blogger (from the AWESOME "ConnecticutBLOG")when the Reverend Jesse Jackson made an appearance to support Ned Lamont, along with New Haven's mayor John DeStefano, who's leading in his campaign for governor.
It was a challenging day...during a mid-morning "Joe's Farewell Tour" bus stop at my town's Senior Citizen's Center (where I was greeted by far too many people who know me; I might have gotten a chillier reception if they knew that I was there to ask Joe Lieberman some tough questions) and where I got some good interviews with the Senator; then I followed the bus to Bridgeport for the Wake Up Wall-mart rally (and was nearly cut off by Jelly driving his angry gas-guzzling SUV; and hey, I wonder how many gallons of precious and expensive diesel were burned while the Lieber-bus was clocked at SEVENTY-FIVE MPH while I was following it?) and suffered with the unwashed masses for much too long (sorry, I'm sure they were washed at some point, but it was very hot; everyone sweats in 100 degree heat; and knowing that doesn't make it smell any less repulsive); and as evening fell and it cooled off to the boiling point of Bromine, I arrived at the church in New Haven.
(...and I don't know WHY I remember that Bromine boils at somewhere in the vicinity of 140F degrees, but that just goes to show you how a former high school pothead can still absorb some facts from 12th-grade Chemistry class. But that's besides the point...)
Anyway, it was a thrill to meet Rev. Jesse Jackson and shoot the interview that CT Blogger did after the main event. And I've commented elsewhere that if the Catholic Church of my childhood was as much fun and had the great music that THIS church has, I'd never have strayed.
At least, not due to boredom.
Anyway, here's CT Blogger's highlights (and, of course, the video interview):
It's really easy to lose focus when covering this wacky senate race.
For me, the thing that sent me down the wrong road was the disgusting race-baiting tactics from team Joementum. Personally, not only was this the lowest point in this campaign but, in my opinion, should go down as the one of the darkest moments in Connecticut politics and the lack of media attention regarding this sensitive subject was simply inexcusable as Sen. Lieberman tried to leave an impression in the minds of African-Americans that Ned Lamont somehow doesn't care about race relations (trust me, if this was the case, I would have nothing to do with the man).
Also troubling to me (and wound up sending me down the wrong path) was the inability of certain members of the local media to properly challenge Lieberman's cheap and utterly despicable race-baiting tactic in a timely fashion (although one television reporter openly admitted knowing about rumors the Lieberman campaign were spreading about Lamont in the African-American community weeks ago).
Simply put, the press failed in their obligation of being a watchdog for the public and certain reporters were bamboozled into echoing talking points spoon-fed to them by team Joementum simply on face value. When finally realizing that they were being used for fools, the press refused to press the Lieberman camp to get back on topic and settled for Marion "the last comic standing" Steinfels signature "no comment" remark. The utter failure of some members in the local media to engage the Lieberman campaign on the relevant issues (i.e. Lieberman's independent petition drive, views on the Iraqi PM statement on the Israeli bombing in Lebanon, Lieberman's views on John Bolton, etc) left me questioning some reporters sense of "objectivity" and balance in their reporting.
I lost focus and needed a wake up call.
Thank goodness for people like the Rev. Jesse Jackson to put you back on the right path.
Last night in New Haven at the Dixwell's Mount Bethel AME Church, I was fortunate enough to get an interview with a person I idolized as a child. Although it was an honor to interview Rev. Jackson, what I wasn't prepared for was how he was able to put me back on the right path adn remind me about what was really important in regards to this senate race. As I questioned Rev. Jackson on why he so vigorously supported Ned Lamont's candidacy, his answer should be a reminder for many of us who have somewhat lost focus and forgotten what Lamont's primary challenge to Lieberman is all about.
Enough of my rambling, all I ask is that you simply watch, listen and focus.
Did you get the Rev. Jackson's message? Is everything coming back into focus now.
Remember the Iraq War?
Remember the way Lieberman undermined the Democratic Party?
Remember how Lieberman failed to hold the Bush administration accountable for anything?
Remember Lieberman's statement regarding womenm, the Plan B pill and Catholic hospitals?
Remember Lieberman's support for Cheney's Energy Bill?
Remember Lieberman's role in Katrina (including the 42 minutes of shame which led to Michael Brown becomming the head of FEMA)?
Remember the countless other reasons which led to Ned Lamont to challenge Lieberman in the first place?
Focus. Is it coming back to you now? Good!
Do yourself a favor...stay focus, keep your eye on the prize and help Ned get out the vote! Also, today is the last day to sign up for the family friends and neighbor's program so if you haven't signed up, NOW is the time.
...and thank you Rev. Jackson for getting me back on the right path. I knew there was a reason why always held you in such high respect.
People, there isn't a moment to waste. Now is the time. You know what to do.