Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com) - Civil rights leaders, union laborers and peace activists joined Rev. Jesse Jackson in Washington, D.C. Friday as he railed against the Bush administration for wanting to "rule the world," and former Attorney General Janet Reno for turning a deaf ear to their concerns.
Jackson said, "Mr. Bush is contemplating a $100 billion adventure into Iraq" and claimed the administration is "stacking" the Sunday talk shows with "(Vice President Dick) Cheney, (National Security Advisor Condoleezza) Rice, (Secretary of State Colin) Powell and (Secretary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld" to influence public opinion.
Jackson warned that launching a war against Iraq would "destabilize the Persian Gulf; leave the whole world in danger and invite more violence here into our own country," and he said any military effort waged against Iraq would be an attempt by the Bush administration to "rule the world."
"We must be a leader of the world," Jackson warned, "not a ruler of the world."
Jackson also accused the Bush administration of silencing the voices of civil rights leaders from both the Justice Department and the White House. "Hard-earned civil rights, workers rights, women's' rights, [and] labor rights have been pushed to the back burner," Jackson claimed.
President Bush's across-the-board tax cut also came under attack by Jackson, who argued it resulted in the squandering of a "trillion and a half dollar" Clinton-era surplus, and the creation of a "$200 billion deficit."
He proceeded to blame Bush for the "boundless corporate greed and tax evasion" that has occurred at Enron, Global Crossing and Arthur Anderson corporations, as well as the collapse of the stock market.
Jackson said he found it "ironic," that in the aftermath of yet another fouled Florida election, Reno had finally come to the realization that voters' rights needed to be protected.
"When she had the power, she would not protect our votes," Jackson said. "Now, she needs the power with our votes." Reno lost a narrow race for Florida's Democratic gubernatorial nomination Tuesday, but has yet to concede.
Jackson told those attending the 'March for Justice' that he invited the former attorney general to Florida after it became evident that voting rights violations occurred during the 2000 presidential election.
But Jackson said Reno and the Department of Justice (DOJ) were "absent and quiet and silent" upon being alerted to those violations which clearly fell under federal jurisdiction. He said the DOJ's response to him was: "We'll handle it after the fact."
"When she was attorney general, she could have protected those rights," Jackson said.
Today, Jackson said, the Bush administration and Attorney General John Ashcroft choose to ignore the issues raised by unions and civil rights leaders, including himself. He specifically faulted Bush's affluence for placing him out of touch with the working class.
"George Bush II, born into privilege, doesn't know what it really means to work a job like you do, to raise a family like you do," Jackson said. "We say that America is for Americans, it's for the working families."
E-mail a news tip to Michael L. Betsch.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.