Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why I Vote Every Time

The usual response to my reminders to get out and vote today has been "For what?"  And when I explain that there is a primary for State Supreme Court (and nothing else) on the ballot (at least here in Oshkosh), the reply has been "Why vote in just one race?"  Well, here is why I make sure to vote every time--in every election: Jesse Jackson, Jr.

For those not familiar, Jackson is a now-former Congressman from Chicago--and the son of the Reverend Jesse Jackson.  Jackson is currently facing federal charges after using $750,000 in campaign funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle that included fancy cars, trips and sports memorabilia.  Jackson also garnered national attention when he basically disappeared for most of his last term in office--not casting a single vote on the fiscal cliff bill and not bothering to make campaign appearances in advance of the November election.  His office would only say that he was undergoing medical treatment.  It turns out that Jackson was in a mental ward at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota--being treated for bi-polar disorder.

You may have noticed that I used the term "former Congressman" in describing Jackson.  But it was not because he lost his seat in Washington in the last election.  Jackson resigned three weeks after easily winning re-election in his Chicago district.  And it's not like all of the news surrounding his legal and mental health issues came out AFTER the election.  It was widely publicized that Jackson and his wife (a member of the Chicago City Council) were misusing campaign funds, were facing federal charges and that he was suffering from severe mental disease.  Despite all of that, 71.7% of voters in his district still went to the polls on November 6th and said "This is the guy that I want representing me in Washington."  (And by technically "winning" that additional term--even without serving a single day--Jackson's federal pension increases to $45,000--if he is allowed to actually keep it).

And so I will brave the cold and the snow again today to get to my polling place and be one of the few dozen who casts a ballot there in an otherwise "meaningless" February primary.  Because I almost feel an obligation to somehow "cancel out" the stupidity of those who vote for people like former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.

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