A Family Business in Disarray

Monica Davey, New York Times, November 23, 2012

If there’s a crisis unfolding somewhere, it’s a good bet that the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. is on his way.


For all his mastery at inserting himself into and shaping a story line, though, he appears less sure how to cope with a crisis much closer to home: Mr. Jackson’s oldest and namesake son, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., has vanished from public view, grappling for months with bipolar disorder. He is also the subject of a federal criminal investigation, and he announced on Wednesday that he would be resigning his seat in Congress less than three weeks after he won re-election.

On the topic of his son, the elder Mr. Jackson seems for once to be without a clever phrase to crystallize a situation, and at one point this summer slipped away from reporters through the back kitchen of a hotel. When he has spoken of his son, his words lack their usual staccato sharpness.

“He will get well in time, but it’s not the kind of illness where you can put a timetable on it,” a subdued Mr. Jackson told reporters outside his home here following the resignation. “If you’re bleeding, you get a Band-Aid. If you break a leg, you get a splint. With this kind of internal, unresolved challenge, you have to take the time, and the environment.”

Frank Watkins, an aide to the younger Mr. Jackson since he was first elected to Congress almost two decades ago and a colleague of his father long before that, said, “I see confusion.” He described the father as “not knowing what to do relative to mental health, especially as it pertains to his own son — and kind of at a loss.”

{snip} Requests for an interview with the elder Mr. Jackson went unanswered. And many people interviewed for this article declined to be quoted by name, citing concern about their relationship with the family.

But nearly everyone shared the same impression, that the sure-footed leader of his political family was unable to sway this story line, try as he might.


This summer, the younger Mr. Jackson went missing from Congress. His office explained that he was suffering from exhaustion, but weeks later disclosed that he was being treated for bipolar II depression, a condition that his associates say may have been exacerbated by weight-loss surgery in 2004, which changed the way his body absorbs medication.

Adding to his troubles, federal authorities had started a criminal investigation into Representative Jackson’s campaign fund and, according to published reports, whether that money was used to decorate the family’s home. Last week, Mr. Jackson indicated that he was cooperating with investigators, and his lawyers said they hoped “to negotiate a fair resolution” of the situation.

“During this journey, I have made my share of mistakes,” Mr. Jackson wrote in his letter resigning from Congress.


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  • Hirschibold

    A family “business?” Since when was sucking the blood of the taxpayers a vocation?

    • Ever since the gov. started offering makework jobs to unqualified Africans.

    • IstvanIN

      Ask the Bushes and Kennedys.

    • The__Bobster

      His father made sucking the blood of private businesses a vocation.

      • StillModerated

        Awww, come on, protection rackets have been around a lot longer than this pathetic excuse for a shakedown artist.

  • i am

    I am surprised that JJ has not blamed his sons condition on White racism and White privilege. He must be slipping in his old age.

    • Oil Can Harry

      After his son was diagnosed bipolar Jesse Sr went on a march with Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright. They held up protest signs saying “Mental Illness Be Racist!”.

  • Flytrap

    “Adding to his troubles. . . ” As if knowing you are going down (possibly on a fellow inmate) won’t make you “bipolar.” He’s known he was caught dead to rights mos. ago and has done everything he can to prolong the inevitable. Just wait, it’s going to be a new version of the “twinkie defense.”

  • You know Jesse Jackson junior must have a lot of white ancestry. Has anyone noticed that Halle Berry and Mariah Carey who are both Biracial and both have mental problems. Just a coincidence?

    • Liberalsuck

      Most mixed race people always side with their nonwhite side and against whites. They don’t feel good about themselves.

    • Yes, most notably Mariah Carey, who chimped out a couple of years ago.

  • pcmustgo

    The worst was jj jr’s disgusting comment during the hillary vs. obama primaries— something about how when Hillary cried during an interview it reminded America of how OJ murdered Nicole Simpson, a ploy to elicit sympathy from white voters, her being beaten by a black man, racist white America at it again.

  • JackKrak

    JJ Jr. is only “bipolar” in the sense that he goes back and forth between considering making a plea deal with federal prosecutors & trying his luck in front a jury.

    Any of you familiar with “The Wire” know that JJ Jr. is going to pull a Clay Davis for the jury in full dress sanctimony.

    • Pelagian

      Or bipolar in the sense of two gay cellmates.

      • FourFooted_Messiah

        “Bipolar” always sounds like one of those nonsense cop-outs to me. Oh, you have mood swings? You have days where you feel like you can get a million things done, and days where you just feel lazy? You have days when you love the world, and days when you wish it would just blow the heck up?

        Um, doesn’t everyone have “those days”? Or am I bloody well bipolar, too? Or maybe it’s just PMS, har.

  • capnmorgan5150

    When this story first popped up on the news, I was sure he had AIDS.

    • StillModerated

      You’re not wrong — yet. I’d heard crack addiction.

  • Liberalsuck

    I’m so glad to see these anti-white black race hustlers getting a taste of their own medicine and watching their scam of an empire start to crumble.

    • It’s a tragedy how much long-term damage they cause along the way that may never be repaired; all for the sake of their selfish egos and greed.

  • StillModerated

    Somebody needs to ask “the reverend” Jackson just exactly who his bishop is. Or where his church is (at).

    • I daresay that Jesse is self-ordained, as are many Baptist preachers, both Black and White. He makes no claim of being Roman Catholic or Episcopalian. His church is the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition building on the Southside of Chicago.

  • Annis

    If blacks were still needed to carry out an agenda, Jackson Jr would be able to slip out of this problem with a little help from his friends. But will all the other races overtaking America, blacks are no longer as important as they once were.

    “We must realize that our party’s most powerful weapon is racial
    tension. By propounding into the consciousness of the dark races that for
    centuries they have been oppressed by the whites, we can mold them to the
    program of the Communist Party. In America we will aim for subtle victory.
    While inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will endeavor to
    instill in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negroes. We
    will aid the Negroes to rise in prominence in every walk of life, in the
    professions and in the world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige,
    the Negro will be able to intermarry with the whites and begin a process which
    will deliver America to our cause.” by Israel Cohen, A Racial Program for the Twentieth
    Century, 1912. (Also in Congressional Record, Vol 103, p.8559, June 7,

  • I wonder if this investigation will ever be made public. A watch and some construction work is the tip of the iceberg. I think the young monkey is falling on his sword to protect the old one.

  • Frank

    A person of integrity would have resigned before the election, saving the taxpayers a lot of money. But, then his name is Jackson.