07/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Hush, Jesse, Hush

It's not a presidential election until Reverend Jackson makes an unfortunate slip of the tongue. Look, I'm a fan of the reverend and was a volunteer for his presidential bid, but the more he talks the more I'm convinced that he is hopelessly old school while Obama represents the nation's much-vaunted "post-racial" future.

As I blogged on Father's Day, Obama and Cosby are hardly the only successful black males calling for more personal responsibility among the black underclass. Obama, Chris Rock, Cosby and every single thinking black person I know understand that the pernicious cynical nihilism that traps so many young black men in a cycle of unemployment, criminality and irresponsible parenting, cannot be erased by legislation alone.

Any thinking, compassionate person also understands that the government DOES have a responsibility to do much better than it has, and that the shortsighted, racist policies during the Reagan administration to dismantle most of the anti-poverty programs that had helped the generation before, only added to the distrust and cynicism of those this country has left behind for so long. The intervening administrations never fully rebuilt what Reagan tore apart.

True leadership, Reverend Jackson, is not just telling truth to power, but telling the truth, period. Especially when it's ugly.

--Trey Ellis