Jesse Jackson Jr. is calling on President Barack Obama to issue a mass pardon of former prison inmates who have completed their sentences — a group that would include both Jackson and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson.
In an emotional and rambling Facebook post he made at 4 a.m. Thursday, Jackson wrote that “the great 2016 pardoning of the masses will create a resounding echo in history and will mark you as the greatest Christian president ever to serve.”
He added, “Mr. President, for those Americans who have traipsed through the criminal justice system and transcended transgression by duly serving time, the outcome should be clear. An official declaration of TIME SERVED, for each and every eligible member of the American family, from the highest office of the land is the only response congruent with the redemption story of Christ.
“Truly, Mr. President, with a presidential pardon equally monumental to, and greater in scope than, the Emancipation Proclamation the legacy of Barack Hussein Obama II will be one of faith, hope and love.”
Jackson, who has been treated for bipolar disorder, was convicted in 2013 of violating federal campaign law by using campaign funds to make personal purchases, including a fedora that once belonged to Michael Jackson and cashmere capes. He served more than a year behind bars before he was released into a halfway house in 2015, while his wife completed her sentence in the same case in October. Though Jackson doesn’t make a direct appeal for his own pardon, any blanket pardon of former inmates would, by definition, include him and his wife.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
But Jackson warned Obama in his post that “Of the U.S. Presidents that I have met, each of them has taken, in his departure from the office, some form of resentment and regret. Resentments and regrets are part of the Shame, Blame and Guilt cycle that haunts people the rest of their lives. Without recourse, ex-Presidents live with the reverberation of ‘If I could have, I would have’ or ‘I should have, but didn’t.’ ”
Jackson wrote that the continuing stain on the records of inmates who have served their time makes it harder for them to reintegrate into society and urged Obama to “Pardon the many and uplift the masses!”
He continued, “As a felon on the Southside of Chicago, I can attest that nothing has changed since you left. That is, if we don’t count the increased gun violence.”
It wasn’t Jackson’s first such request for a pardon. In a lengthy Facebook post on Nov. 23, he wrote “My argument is for men and women who have done their time and owe, nothing else to the American people, and deserve a new life, a life very different than the one they are living as felons and this is not possible without a full pardon.
“There are tens of millions of people who have paid their debt to society and have never been forgiven.”
In that note, he added that, “While in federal prison I got thrown in the hole for filling out pardon applications for men, who could not read or write. I did not fill out one for myself.”
Jackson’s campaign didn’t stop him from making some lighter-hearted Facebook posts between Nov. 23 and Thursday.
Last week he posted photos of Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand and Beyonce, and asked his Facebook friends, “Which Diva gave you the chills?”
On Sunday he also asked his followers who the best male dancer was, and noted that “I am having an argument with my father and my brothers about the best Cowboy movie. Can you all weigh in and settle this for us? Buck and the Preacher, Mag 7, or the Good the Bad and the Ugly or Unforgiven?”
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