In American politics oligarchs are not all white middle class Protestants, although a lot are. The system is such that as soon as one man (and its nearly always going to be a man) breaks through into gaining a seat in Congress, his relatives get a free ride in on the back of his coat-tails.
So it is with Jesse Jackson junior, the Democrat Representative from Illinois who resigned this week only after just having been voted back in last week.
Odd? Oh yes, very.
Jesse Jackson is the 47 year old son of veteran firebrand Jesse Jackson senior, the Baptist minister and civil rights activist. Jesse senior whose real name was Jesse Louis Burns, was a candidate for Democrat nomination twice in 1984, and 1988 and was Shadow US Senator for District of Columbia.
Jesse junior has been plagued with two problems. The first being an Investigation regarding the use of campaign funds for personal costs, and secondly a long running fight with Bi-polar depression. There is also the matter of the probe into his ethics. The illness kept him out of politics for much of the last year.
Questions rise immediately. How was it that a man with such obviously crippling mental health problems was allowed by his party to go forward to the election, especially as he was unable to do much campaigning? Why did they sanction his running. His resigning days after the election only places a burden on the public purse in the region of 5 to 6 million dollars in running a special election for his successor.
Which leads nicely to the second question. Who is to take the empty seat? Surprisingly to outsiders it seems that the Jackson family are still in the lead here. There is strong talk of his wife Sandi Jackson standing for Jesse’s position. It is a matter of interest just how many wives and spouses in the American system stand to replace their spouses when their public office is vacated. But if not the wife, then how about the brother? Jonathan Jackson too is set for the race.
This is oligarchy, a system where the sons and daughters of achievement are not allowed to rise to the positions of representation, but where nepotism and favourites push out liberty, freedom and democracy corrupting the entire process in their wake.
Copyright David Macadam 2012