For most of my life I lived in Illinois, and I still follow the state’s politics despite the fact that I relocated to Arizona last summer. The latest political scandal involving former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is only one in a long list of political scandals in Illinois (“Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty: Obama and Emanuel have no comment,” Web Communities section, Saturday). Perhaps I should not be surprised, but I refuse to become that cynical.
Still, corruption of any kind incenses me. I think Mr. Jackson’s actions go beyond poor judgment; they are totally despicable. He violated the public trust, and in doing so simultaneously ruined his own legacy and undercut faith in governing institutions.
While Mr. Jackson claims to take responsibility for his wrongful actions (though I sense he is using his bi-polar disorder to distract people and/or evoke their sympathy), I cannot help but shake my head at the fact that he disappeared from public life for months last year and then somehow won re-election anyway last November.
When a public official has serious credibility problems going into an election, voters have a civic duty to consider other options — not simply cast their ballot for the incumbent with total disregard for the potential ramifications. Here I believe that the people who supported Mr. Jackson share the disgrace he brought to himself and the office because they helped make it possible.
JOHN A. DUERK
Lake Havasu City, Ariz.