I had to admit, a month or so ago when the protests were in full swing here in Madison I was surprised to see Jesse Jackson show up. Then I thought about it, and I wasn’t surprised at all. Jesse always shows up to events such as the protests to get his face on TV. Does anyone really listen to him anymore?
Once again, I saw Jesse on the news today. The city of Benton Harbor has had its mayor (or is it city manager) and the entire city council tossed on its ear in the name of a financial emergency. The state of Michigan has empowered an emergency financial manager to run the place until it can get back on its feet. So who showed up? Jesse Jackson, imploring the people of Benton Harbor to sue the state (rather than showing up five years ago and imploring the people to fix the mess, but that is besides the point).
On a personal note, I have vacationed with my family for the past decade on the shores of western Michigan and we absolutely love it. Every community there has cashed in on the warm summer waters of the Lake and developed their shores, and held nice festivals for the tourists such as myself and my family and the hordes from Chicago. Every community, that is, except Benton Harbor.
We have stayed in neighboring St. Joseph, a tiny community just to the south of Benton Harbor, many times. Once we got lost and were driving through Benton Harbor and we all of a sudden had to lock the doors and zip through there. What an absolute dump. We could hardly believe that every small city we had visited was so nice, and Benton Harbor was so trashed. Something was clearly amiss, but we didn’t know what it was – we just wanted to get out of there.
I am not surprised that Benton Harbor is in financial straits, nor that Jesse Jackson showed up to lead the “fight” to save their elected government that Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm declared to be such a basketcase that she had to appoint the emergency representative to rescue. I read a few documents on the situation and they didn’t even have basic accounting principles employed.