After reading about the money he stole, the expensive swag he bought with campaign funds, and the constituents he ultimately betrayed, it’s hard to feel anything but contempt for disgraced celebrity son and former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. But apparently not everyone agrees with me. Indeed, the folks over at ‘Morning Joe’ are -- wait for it -- saddened by his downfall (via Jazz Shaw):
Jackson: “For years I have lived off my campaign”
Scarborough: “It’s a sad story.”
Jazz summarized exactly how I felt after watching this nauseating segment:
At what point did this become a “sad story” exactly? The criminal was caught and brought to justice. The system worked. Aren’t we generally happy about that? To reiterate what I was ranting about on Twitter, this guy stole nearly a million dollars from the people of his district, many of whom live below the poverty level! Was anybody “sad” when Bernie Madoff got caught? Was anyone praying for “a new chapter” in Madoff’s life where he would “turn things around?”
Jackson Jr. got what he deserved. He betrayed the public’s trust and got caught. Americans, for their part, should be rejoicing that a corrupt, thieving politician can no longer steal money from the hard working Americans he ostensibly represented.
But there’s something else at play here that really bothers me about his behavior. When middle class Americans read that Jackson Jr. was literally living off his campaign and purchasing $43,000 Rolex watches with public funds, how will that make them feel? Simple: Angry, cynical and less inclined to trust any individual whom serves in government. How sad. Of course, as Alexander Hamilton reminded us long ago in The Federalist Papers, “a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government.” In other words, the Jesse Jackson Jr.’s of the world will always exist in public life. And it’s our job to keep our eyes on them at all times and, when necessary, hold them accountable.
Jackson Jr. spent years duplicitously pretending he was working on behalf of his constituents, when in fact he was actually stealing from them. Americans should not be saddened by these revelations; we should be glad that justice was finally served.