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Alan Webber: Traveling with the reverend

October 9, 2018

Recently on a flight back from Florida, I sat across the aisle from the “Reverend” Jessie Jackson. So, here I am, a staunch conservative sitting next to an individual I believe to be every bit as unscrupulous as people such as Bernie Madoff or John Kerry.

Whether that reputation is accurate or not, it is an opinion, and despite the efforts of some on the left and in Congress, this old guy is still allowed his opinions. You might have an entirely different view about Rev. Jackson. I respect that. If you read further, you also might find this commentary really isn’t about Rev. Jackson.

Jesse Jackson has had books written criticizing him, which induced me to consider scenarios why he might be in Florida. What should I say or shout at him, I pondered? Ideas fluttered around my noggin. After all, liberals shout at celebrities they disagree with all the time — it’s all the rage now. Why shouldn’t I do so as well?

As the plane snuggled up to the terminal, the buzzer went off, and everyone stood. Still wearing my seat-belt until the buzzer actually rang slowed me down from the rest, so I found aisle space lacking to collect belongings. I stood anyway, just about the time a guy — call him “Smiley” — clawed his way back to where Jackson and I were struggling to occupy the same spot at the same time.

Smiley had this big grin on his face as he stuck out a hand. “Reverend Jackson,” Smiley blurted warmly, and I quote verbatim, “I just wanted to thank you for all the wonderful things you’ve done for the world.”

Suppressing hysterics, I did a double-take to see if Smiley was being facetious. His request to have his picture taken with his wife and Jackson confirmed Smiley was, in fact, serious. No, I did not take the picture.

Someone standing behind Jackson then asked for a picture, too, so I used my considerable burliness to make way for my wife and I to exit the aisle and the city of Chicago as quickly as possible. Not only did I fight off the urge to scream at Jackson on the way out, which liberals now think is perfectly normal behavior, I also did not stop to ask Smiley if he’s allowed to vote, although that thought had occurred to me.

Obviously, I have some animosity toward Jackson. So, how’s my situation any different than that of the morons who accosted Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, Ted Cruz or Betsy DeVos when they were being attacked in public with their families?

Standing in a metal tube surrounded by people scrambling to get off a plane would have been a great opportunity to heckle Jackson. I could have shrieked about the accusations leveled at Jackson from various claims mentioned in the book “Shakedown” by Ken Timmerman or “Scam” by Jesse Peterson. Details aside, nothing mentioned in those books, or others, has been refuted.

I might have embarrassed Jackson (and probably my wife) by calling him an adulterer or shrieking obscenities about other misdeeds, real or imagined on my part.

My situation is different than the above-mentioned protesters because, despite our differences I feel strongly about, I instead treated Jackson, and others in my area of the plane, with respect and dignity. Frankly, Jackson and/or Smiley would be hard-pressed to recollect I ever was near them. That’s a normal human interaction.

Certainly, my imagined protestations only would happen as I was being dragged off the plane or out the terminal by security. And someone would record the confrontation on their cellphone and subsequently sell it to a news organization so as to criticize me — the conservative — rather than, in my opinion, a liberal race hustler.

But when liberals attack the space of people they don’t agree with, they rarely are dragged away because of their First Amendment right, and somehow the media coverage doesn’t seem to have a problem with this type behavior.

In fact, it seems to me it’s glorified, as if it now is common knowledge people such as Sanders, Cruz and DeVos should be derided. Maxine Waters is on record running her mouth about heckling President Donald Trump. The media never condemned her.

Yet, would it be considered politically incorrect of me to call out people such as Rev. Jackson? I probably am going to get hammered for having the audacity to write this.

I should have said something.

Thank you!

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