Our View: Doubt rising about Jesse Jackson Jr.
SouthtownStar editorial October 5, 2012 10:12PM
Updated: November 8, 2012 12:01PM
Questions are increasing and concern rising about the mental health, and political future, of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2nd), who has been missing from Congress for four months while receiving care for bipolar disorder.
It’s becoming more apparent that Jackson is battling severe depression, and it has reached the point where we wonder whether he will return to office — and if so, be able to handle its demands and pressures.
Consider the following:
After being treated for about six weeks at an Arizona clinic, Jackson was moved to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in late July and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He stayed there for another six weeks. In early August, his wife, Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), said he was “completely debilitated by depression” but could be home by Sept. 1 and would campaign “vigorously” for re-election to a 10th term. He has not campaigned or even appeared in public.
Jackson left the Mayo Clinic in early September, returning to his home in Washington, D.C. A spokesman said he “may be back to work on Monday (Sept. 10).” Didn’t happen.
Sandi Jackson said this past week that her husband may not campaign at all or return to work until after the Nov. 6 election — and may not address his constituents, even by video, before they go to the polls.
It doesn’t sound as if Jackson Jr.’s recovery is going well, at least not as well as hoped when he returned home. Four months into treatment, he remains secluded, with no sign when he might emerge.
Some political opportunists have naively called for him to withdraw from the race. Jackson deserves time to recover fully, and there’s little at stake politically because he’s sure to be re-elected over token opposition in a strongly Democratic district.
But we’re becoming uneasy about what’s really going on here. Will Jackson quit weeks or months after the election, allowing the Democratic bosses to pick his replacement? We hope not. But then again, this is Illinois.