Jesse Jackson Jr. & The Political Class…Are We Really Surprised?

Some time ago, I wrote a piece where I was attempting to convey the entitlement mentality of the spoiled, oftentimes narcissistic “political class” in America (“Congressional Ethics & Why We Deserve Corrupt Officials”). To briefly summarize, the political class is that group of individuals who pretty much entrench themselves into political apparatus that controls and initiates policies based primarily—but not exclusively—on self-interests. They include not only career politicians, but those joined at the hip of these individuals, such as lobbyists, and habitual donors who influence these elected officials. But at the core, the Political Class—both Republicans and Democrats—is brimming with opportunists who’s chief motivations are ensuring that they can hold onto their elected positions as long as possible, and to parlaying their elected positions into opportunities for personal gain.

With these priorities as a basis, over the last several years we have seen this connected, entitled spoiled-kid attitude among our elected officials time and again. William Jefferson, Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Charles Rangel, Kwame Kilpatrick, John Ensign—the list of those seeking to illegally (or unethically) profit from their elected positions goes back as far as the eye can see. And predictably, the future of these profiteers stretches into the foreseeable future. Although admittedly a cynical perspective, the fact that our elected officials fail to heed the lessons of their predecessors when choosing to engage in such behavior speaks support of their embracing an entitlement-driven motivations for public office.

As of last week, we can add former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. to the list of politicians swayed by the allure of personal gain from public office. Jackson, along with his wife Sandi both pleaded guilty to felony charges of misappropriation of campaign funds and (related) filing false income tax forms respectively. This most recent fall-from-grace of an elected official was made all the more stinging by Jackson’s inherent notoriety due to his relation and being the namesake to long-time civil rights personality Jesse Jackson Sr.

But as I said in my previous article, we as the voting public should hardly be surprised by this turn of events. The moral quality of many who we elect to office is simply a reflection of our “me-me,” self-obsessed culture. Moreover, the perennial disappointments from those of the Political Class we are forced to experience is proof that power does indeed corrupt.

See also: "The Sin of Congressional Perks"

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