WASHINGTON (KGO) --The Reverend Jesse Jackson weighed in on the controversy involving Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the decision to cut off fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren when she tried to read a letter from a civil rights icon on the floor of the chamber.
Jackson was invited to the Black History Month forum as a living, breathing symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr.
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"At the end of the day, you must be driven by hope and love, not cynicism and despair," he said.
But there was another message as modern as today's headlines.
It involves the fight in the senate over the nomination of Sessions to be attorney general. Senate leaders shut down Warren when she tried to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King 30 years ago opposing Sessions' nomination to the federal bench.
On Wednesday, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell defended the move. "She was warned, she was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted," he said.
McConnell says she violated a rule forbidding senators from criticizing each other. Jackson says it was an abuse of power. "Just as McConnell tried to stop hearing the voice of Coretta Scott King, Sessions tried to stop hearing the voice of her husband, Dr. King," he said.
Jackson and other civil rights leaders have accused Sessions of trying to nullify black votes when he was a U.S. attorney in Alabama. He told the audience of students and staff at USF that there were similar obstacles during the Civil Rights Era but there is a solution.
"Massive non-violent resistance works. It's practical and it's morally correct," Jackson said.
One message of Jackson's that seemed to resonate with both sides of the political aisle was his view that not voting was tantamount to voting for the other side.