Jesse's Face Spoke for Millions

Jesse Jackson's tears expressed so many possible thoughts
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2008 1:18 PM CST
President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, wave to the crowd after Obama's acceptance speech.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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(Newser) – Not long after the networks declared Barack Obama the next American president, writes Rebecca Traister in Salon, the years worth of emotions that led up to that moment flashed across the face of Jesse Jackson. In minutes, the civil rights leader's expression transformed from a still one of disbelief, (or perhaps resentment, or shock) to unabashed, weeping joy.

"It was easy to read on his closed face a million imagined emotions: that his momentary reticence was born of the resentments grown up during what was an absolutely harrowing race for the American presidency," writes Traister. "In two years, the youth and eloquence of Barack Obama have steamrolled everything in their path: from racial bias to ideas about how to win presidencies to the delicate reverence with which Jackson's generation of civil rights activism had been held."