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Recognizing the Long Arc of Jesse Jackson Jr's Congressional Service

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Cross-posted from The Nation



Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress  with a poignant note of acceptance after a personal journey that took a heartbreaking turn.

"For seventeen years I have given 100 percent of my time, energy, and life to public service," Jackson wrote in a letter delivered on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday ...

"However, over the past several months, as my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish. Against the recommendations of my doctors, I had hoped and tried to return to Washington and continue working on the issues that matter most of the people of the Second District. I know now that will not be possible."

Jackson pulled few punches. The congressman, who has been receiving inpatient treatment for bipolar disorder,  acknowledged not just the health challenges he has faced  but a deeply embarrassing federal investigation into the misdirection of campaign funds. "I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes," he wrote, "for they are my mistakes and mine alone."

In an era when so many political figures refuse to take any responsibility for their actions, it is notable that Jackson chose to exit with an acknowledgement of his own fallibility.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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