Jesse Jackson lashed out at the Tea Party at a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial event, comparing its ideology to old states’ rights arguments against integration. The movement “is not new,” he said at the crowded luncheon in Washington. “It's just a new name for an old game." In an emotional speech, Jackson said current civil rights work should take on “expensive, unnecessary, ungodly wars” and fix the tax code so “the wealthiest pay their fair share,” USA Today reports.
Jackson said that King wasn’t quite the pacifist we remember. “People who come here must not reduce him to poetry,” he said. “He believed in tough negotiations and confrontation before reconciliation.” Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee also spoke, noting that the country is “entering a reactionary period probably worse than post-Reconstruction.” Tea Party leader Judson Phillips fired back at Jackson’s comments, saying the movement “believes in the words of Martin Luther King when he said he wanted to see a day where people were judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.”