I was hesitant to speak on the subject because here at The Flyy-Life, in regards to our content, we strive to go in a different direction than most columnist, bloggers and journalist. I only embraced the idea when I realized that our mission is to provide an oasis for the urban sophisticate and for years, Jesse Jackson Jr. was perhaps a leading example of the most successful of urban sophisticates. As the “heir-apparent” to the most prominent black political dynasty, he was royalty. Jesse’s only real job in life was to recline and float his way to the top. His father’s illustrious career as “arm-partner” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960’s civil rights movement and also the liberator of the Iranian hostages in 1988 ensured that politically, whatever he wanted he got. Many of my peers joke that they doubt he’s ever filled out an application. Years before he “resigned” from office as Congressman, Jesse had stopped even campaigning for re-election. He just continued to float into office, term after term. Jesse was our “Barack” back when Obama was still knocking on doors, begging for signatures. So how did someone in such an enviable position, fall from grace so drastically? Could this lapse in judgment and abuse of power be a symptom of his bipolar diagnosis or could this be another example of an affluent man who worked very little in his life and never learned the difference between confidence & entitlement.
On Tuesday, Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 30 months in prison for the theft of over 750K in campaign funds. His wife, Sandi Jackson was also sentenced to 12 months in prison for her role in falsifying tax records. The couple is now responsible for fines and restitutions that total almost a million dollars. This theft seems odd to me, considering Jesse Jr. was one of the highest ranking and tenured congressman with a salary to match. Sandi also “floated” into a position as a Chicago councilman. A position many said was awarded due to her last name. Although Sandi’s district is one of the most crime ridden, poverty stricken, abandoned building laden districts on Chicago’s south-side; she packed her bags and up-rooted her family to a posh house in Washington D.C, where she enrolled her children into affluent private schools. At best, Sandi was publicly known as a “ghost-councilman”. The handful of council meetings she decided to attend, she was known for rushing in from the airport with her luggage and children in tow. Although her district became known for its economic free-fall, Sandi floated into winning re-election term after term, with little or no campaigning. So far, we count two very lucrative incomes coming into one household without any exhaustive measures and little due-diligence. Entitled….
Perhaps its jealousy, but what angers me most about elected officials that are victims of greed is that in addition to their inflated salaries as public servants, they are also privy to very laxed expense accounts. Most of those necessities and expenditures that we as constituents are forced to budget and pay out of pocket for day-to-day living, they can easily and legally classify it as a business expenses and “expense it out.” Commuting, traveling, food & entertainment all are easily expensed out which increases their personal disposable income. Politicians are also able to use their campaign funds to issue contracts and pay for “consultants” that are classified as a necessary business expense for their campaign. Most time, these jobs are given to friends, relatives and supporters. Sandi Jackson formed a consulting company in which she was paid by her husband campaign fund to serve as a political consultant. Her company was paid 50K in this role. We are now at three lucrative incomes coming into one household. Many would argue, serving as a political advisor to your husband would amount to being paid for kitchen table and bedroom talk that most enterprising and ambitious couples do anyway.
It became almost comical when the Feds released the itemized statement and we were informed they stole the money to purchase items like bulk toilet tissue from Cosco, moose heads and celebrity memorabilia. Perhaps we would have been more understanding if we saw a listing of uber luxurious items, but toilet tissue and toothpaste made me laugh. I am not judging this couple because I have also been a victim of the entitlement mentality. Although I was not imprisoned, I still fell flat on my face. It taught me a very valuable lesson early in my upward mobility plight. It’s fine to be confident in your talents and skillset. After years of perfecting them, you’ve earned that right. But there’s a fine line between confidence and entitlement and when you begin to feel entitled, normally disaster is around the corner…cheers…Deo