By The Big Guy
Sorry, not those Jacksons. It’s the former Illinois congressman, Jesse Jackson, Jr. (Triple J to his friends) and the little lady, Chicago alderperson Sandra Jackson, who stood before a federal judge and got themselves his and hers prison sentences on Wednesday. In Illinois this is referred to as everyday occurrence. You turn around and there’s another federal judge sending another elected official to a federal prison to the point where most of us know the whole Federal Bureau of Prisons rules and regulations for choosing your prison, etc.
And here’s another fun fact for you. Both the mister and the missus were preceded in their elected offices by people who wound up or are about to wind up in prison. The congressman previous to Mr. Jackson in Illinois’ 2nd district had a sexual relationship with a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD campaign worker. And Mrs. J. followed a gentlemen into her aldermanic office found guilty of income tax evasion earlier this year. That sure seems worthy of a listing in The Guinness Book of World Records to me.
Answer this for me. When these people run for public office, what part of “public” don’t they understand? Why do we have so many of them looking forward to what they’ve won as an opportunity for illegal cash or illegal sex or both? Defense attorneys at the sentencing hearing pointed to the couple’s work, the good they did for their neighborhood, their state, their country and felt it should be taken into consideration. But if you’re a public official isn’t that pretty much what the voters expect? Isn’t it your job to do good for the people you represent? The Jacksons should get lighter sentences because they did their job? Speaking of the voters, folks in the neighborhood feel betrayed. They entrusted their hopes and dreams for better days to this couple and their trust was ignored so that the Jacksons could use campaign funds to purchase mink jackets, a Rolex watch, Bruce Lee memorabilia (really!), porcelain dolls, two stuffed elk heads (again, really!), an assortment of flat screen TVs and an Eddie Van Halen guitar, just to scratch the surface.
Jesse got two and a half years. Sandi got twelve months. The various media asked the constituents what they thought of that outcome. Overwhelmingly, people thought the sentences weren’t long enough. They talked about trust. They said they expected better from these two people who had everything going for them and tossed it for two stuffed elk heads. The only sympathy anyone showed was when they talked about the kids. The judge mentioned them, too, to Mrs. Jackson. “It’s not the court, it’s not the government that put your children in this position.”
Outside the courthouse Jesse Jackson, Jr. spoke briefly. “I believe in redemption,” he said. It’s too bad they got to a place where that belief became necessary.