Monday, March 4, 2013

The Rise and Fall of Jesse Jackson Jr.

I don't condone trickery, lying, stealing, or misleading and abusing public trust and funds in any form.

However, there is something much deeper surrounding the recent fall from grace of former Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.

Oh, sure, it's easy enough to make jokes about the outrageous ways in which he spent the public's money:  a Michael Jackson fedora here, an elk head there, a mink cape or two.  But, for me, what his careless, wreckless and illegal behavior points to is something much more complex.  Mental illness.

There are those who say they believe that his admission of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder was simply another ruse to avoid prosecution.  I don't believe that.  I believe that he truly is a sick man.  The role his wife played either willingly or unwilling is a little more complicated to explain.  But that's not really for me or any of us to explain.  That's why we allow the judicial system to run its course.

I do know that the real victims here, besides his constituents, are the couple's children who face the possibility that both their parents could be incarcerated and they are now the subject of public ridicule.  The children did nothing wrong.

Let's talk about children for a minute.  It is my honest opinion that the sons of famous and prominent fathers should not be named "Junior." 

Time and again, I have seen where paying honor to a famous father by way of naming a male child "Jr." has been more of a curse than a blessing.  Of course, that's not always the case.  But it sure doesn't make it easy for any junior to follow in senior's footsteps when the shoes are pretty big to fill.

I'm not a doctor, but I do understand that one of the more common traits of bipolar disorder is excessive spending and illusions of grandeur.  There's no arguing that Jesse Jr. had a serious spending problem (obviously for things he didn't need) and saw himself as above being caught.  I don't necessarily take that to mean that he was arrogant.  I believe that there is some underlying reason that he made these terrible choices.

The fact that the morning he entered his plea, he said to a reporter, that he "had a beer that morning, but had never been more clear in his thinking" says a lot.

Dude - you had a beer?  Weren't you just get released from a medical facility for treatment with medication which more than likely means you shouldn't be consuming alcohol?

If any good comes from this entire mess - and it is a mess (I was one of those people who a decade ago believed that Jesse Jr. might actually be the first African American president), it will be that Mr. Jackson Jr. will get the medical help he desperately needs and after serving his time will be given the benefit of the doubt, and can reclaim his life at some future point.

Remember, "He who is without sin. . .cast the first stone."

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