Jesse Jackson Jr.'s has agreed to plead guilty to having misappropriated $750,000 in campaign funds for his personal use.
That by itself is not particularly interesting. Perhaps it's not even that surprising in light of the fact that his father, in whose political footsteps he followed, is a sociopath.
But Jackson didn't spend his money on the usual stuff: trips to the Caribbean, fancy meals, fine wines, cars, mistresses, gifts for friends, and bling. Well, other than a $43,350 Rolex. (A congressman has to be on time.)
Mostly, Jackson was a memorabilia buff.
He spent $5000 on a football which had been signed by four US Presidents. He bought two hats which had belonged to Michael Jackson, including a $4800 fedora. He spent over $8000 on Martin Luther King Jr. memorabilia and over $7000 on Bruce Lee memorabilia.
There's something a little primitive about the mentality of memorabilia collectors. It's almost as if they want a talisman to get some of the magic person's juju. (Practitioners of voodoo sometimes use a personal possession of their intended victim, such as a lock of his hair, to cast a spell. Not that Jackson wanted to cast any spells.)
Jackson's interest in Martin Luther King memorabilia is almost understandable, given that Jesse Sr. first gained fame by glomming onto the King bandwagon, then exploiting that connection.
But anybody with an IQ over 100 is supposed to grow out of his Bruce Lee stage by age 20. Jackson is now 47. You do the math.
Michael Jackson was an undeniably talented singer, dancer, and composer. But he was just as undeniably a serial child molester. As well as being sort of, well, undeniably insane. What sort of person is attracted to a loon? Perhaps another loon? I had always thought that Jesse Jackson Jr.'s extended stay in that mental health facility was a ploy to set up a temporary insanity defense. Maybe not.
Jackson also spent $5150 on furs, including a $1200 mink reversible parka and an $800 mink cape. I'd have paid $800 to see Jackson show up in Congress wearing that cape. If I knew how, I'd photoshop a picture of him wearing Michael Jackson's fedora and that mink cape.
Maybe it was a magician's cape. Jackson would certainly have to be a magician to mount any sort of political comeback after he gets out of jail. (Then again, black voters tend to be very forgiving of scandal involving their own: remember Marion Barry?)
Jackson must have grown up with a fair amount of privilege. Like many blacks who grow up well to do, he must have yearned for some real street cred. Perhaps dressing up like a pimp was his way of getting that.
In fairness to Jackson, he did reportedly try to buy himself that U.S. Senate seat former Illinois Governor Rod Blagoyevich tried to auction off. That was actually a use of campaign funds that Jackson's donors might have approved of.
And Jackson did spend $9800 on children's furniture. (Maybe we should just focus on what a good father he is.)
While Republicans are constantly accused of using their office to protect the rich, which is true enough, Democrats do seem more likely to use their office to get rich. Jackson is just one more piece of evidence.
Addendum, two days later: Turns out that it was Jackson's wife, Sandra, who bought that reversible mink parka and cape, not Jackson himself.