Monday, November 12, 2012

Jesse Jackson Jr., A Virtual Zombie, Wins Re-Election By Landslide

Several months ago politician Jesse Jackson Jr. disappeared. No one knew where he was. He didn't show up for votes. Neither hide nor hair was seen of him on Capitol Hill.

Then news surfaced that Jackson Jr. had been admitted to The Mayo Clinic for treatment of exhaustion and depression. Something was making him tired, but it wasn't doing his job. What made Jesse Jackson Jr. so tired? Hard to speculate. I've always found maintaining a lie was one of the most emotionally and physically draining experiences one can go through. 

Ironically, it was about the time allegations surfaced that Jackson Jr. had misused campaign funds to decorate his house and buy a female friend a $40,000 Rolex. The politician from that point forward in no way fulfilled the obligations of the office he was elected to by citizens of Illinois' 2nd Congressional District.

None of this prevented the voters of the 2nd District from re-electing Jackson Jr. last Tuesday. Not only did they re-elect him, they did so by one of the most convincing landslides in any Congressional seat being contested. Seventy-two percent of the voters decided Jackson Jr. deserved another shot at Congress. 

And Jackson Jr. believed it himself, saying he was "humbled and moved" by the show of support. I would like to say the rest of us are shocked and appalled by the show of support, but no one expected any less, not here in Illinois. 

Jesse Jackson Jr. is probably going to prison for his mis-handling of campaign funds. Another black eye to the national perception of Illinois politics, which includes a virtually unbroken string of governors that have ended up in prison going back to the 1960's. What he won't be doing is losing any elections anytime soon, not in the 2nd Congressional District at least. Shame on you, voters of the Illinois' 2nd. You're every bit of what the public perception says. 

Jackson Jr. will not lose his pension it seems, valued at between 65,000-80,000 a year when he turns 62. Politics is a shady business. 

Jesse Jackson Jr. will soon be using a supposed diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder to avoid prison time.

Update November 12: After I had written this last night at 2 a.m. I realized all I had really done was recombine a few facts I had assembled from other news sources, but it occurred to me this afternoon a more interesting aspect of the story, as someone who has been diagnosed with both a mood and personality disorder, is if the Mayo Clinic actually has diagnosed Jesse Jackson Jr. with a mental illness. And as it turns out, they have. 

Sort of.

Jesse Jackson Jr. has been diagnosed not with Bipolar Disorder, as many headlines claim, but Bipolar 2, a new diagnosis introduced in the DSM in 1994. For a brief explanation of the difference please consult this article in Time Magazine's Health and Family section. Many psychologists believe the array of new personality and mood disorders, including Bipolar 2 and Borderline Personality disorder are bogus, and either created by the pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs or to categorize problem inmates of mental health facilities who otherwise have no discernible disorder. 

A more cynical view (not that believing that the pharmaceutical companies would conspire with a gullible mental health community to create fictitious disorders in order to sell expensive drugs in order to treat fictitious disorders isn't cynical enough) is that the mental health community is creating disorders simply to describe bad behavior. Instead of "the devil made me do it" we get Bipolar 2 made me do it. or Borderline Personality Disorder made me do it.

let's clear one thing up: I believe in mental disorders, but I'm not convinced that these particular ones are legitimate. When i sat in psychology classes in college the students there, the ones who were actually going to go out and treat the mentally ill in institutions, were still easily convinced Multiple Personality Disorder, which they later renamed Dissociative Identity Disorder after anyone who wanted to appear responsible would no longer take MPD seriously, was very real. It was not. And I have a hard time taking those people seriously now. 

Borderline Personality Disorder largely came about because those who were dealing directly with violent and abusive inmates in institutions needed some way to label a population that was misbehaving but otherwise had no diagnosable condition. BPD gave them a tool to label these people as mentally ill, which gave them more power in subduing them and segregating them from the rest of the population. In short these were people who the mental health professionals were sick of being abused by and asserted pressure to have them labeled something, anything, that would allow them to be singled out.

Does Jesse Jackson Jr. have a real mental illness other than Bipolar 2? I haven't a clue. But do i think Bipolar 2 is a sufficient explanation for his allegedly criminal behavior? Not really. I think he made poor choices and should be liable for the consequences of what he may or may not have done. 

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