The news that Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) took a medical leave of absence broke in late June. Jackson had been out of commission for two weeks by that point and the story has only grown more mysterious since.
Jackson’s office is mum on details about his whereabouts, only saying in a release that he “is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder.”
While Jackson’s office has been on mute, his parents have been perhaps a little too forthcoming. Jesse Jackson, Sr. said his son is in “a crisis” and “going through a tremendous challenge.” Jackson’s mother, Jacqueline, said he has been through “tremendous disappointment,” before dishing on his shortcomings and family business. “He thought he was going to be a senator,” she said. “He thought he was going to have a chance to run for mayor. And young people don’t bounce back from disappointment like me and my husband.”
The awkward moments haven’t been limited to Jackson’s family. An AP story yesterday reported why it took two weeks for people to realize Jackson’s absence: “Jackson arrived in Washington 17 years ago with a star quality that set him apart from his 434 colleagues in the House. Yet he has never lived up to those high expectations on the national stage…”
WaPo‘s “She the People” blogger Bonnie Goldstein called on Jackson to take care of his health and “look into a different line of work.” Appearing insensitive to people who suffer from mental problems in the work place, Goldstein wrote a follow-up, saying she didn’t “have any quarrel with employing the mentally unhealthy.” She further admitted, “I count myself among them. I think most of us succumb to some emotionally destabilizing periods now and then, particularly when we have a lot of pressure or trauma in our work or personal life.”
Lastly, a story in the Chicago Sun Times explored the types of mood disorders someone could potentially be suffering from: “[They range] from depression and bipolar disorder to disorders related to medical conditions involving the thyroid or adrenal glands; post-partum depression or substance-induced mood disorders.” Yes, the story included postpartum depression.
Least forgiving of Jackson: A hostile editorial by The Chicago Tribune which wrote, “We don’t see how his treatment could be compromised by providing some answers.” The editorial was written under the headline “Where’s Jesse Jackson Jr.? No, we’re sorry, this isn’t a private matter.”
Most forgiving: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said, “I know a lot of people are saying when is he going to get back to work, he should get back to work — why would he go back to work to a Congress that does no work?”