Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Jackson deals with fallout

The Reverend Jesse Jackson has been dealing with a smattering of fallout ensuing his Jan. 18 announcement that he fathered a 20-month-old illegitimate daughter as the result of an extramarital affair.

The relationship with 39-year-old Karin Stanford a former worker at Rainbow/PUSH Coalition was revealed following threats that The National Enquirer would reveal the details of the affair. Jackson, who served as spiritual advisor for former-President Clinton during the revelation of his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, was having his own affair at the time and invited the four-month pregnant Stanford to meet the President.

“He was really one of President Clinton’s closest spiritual advisers and really friends through the whole ordeal,” said ABC NEWS political analyst George Stephanopoulos. “He went to the White House and prayed with President Clinton. They got down on their knees, we heard, in the residence. He counseled Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton – really became a close friend to the family and they really bonded through this whole ordeal.”

Jackson supported Clinton throughout the event both publicly and privately, issuing statements that public officials private lives should remain in the private sector.

“When we do sin, that’s when we have to ask for forgiveness of our sins, because sins do sting when it comes to something as private as sex,” Jackson said at the time of the Clinton affair. “I mean he [Clinton] made a great error, but if we have a sense of forgiveness and redemption and perspective as a nation, we will move on.”

Expressing a great deal of remorse over his own affair, Jackson, he began his address straight off by apologizing for his lack of judgment in the matter.

“This is no time for evasions, denials or alibis,” he said. “I fully accept responsibility and I am truly sorry for my actions.”

He went on to ask for forgiveness from his wife of 38 years and his five children for the trauma that they suffered because of the affair.

“My wife, Jackie, and my children have been made aware of the child and it has been an extremely painful, trying and difficult time for them,” Jackson said. “I have asked God and each one of them to forgive me and I thank each of them for their grace and understanding throughout this period of tribulation. We have prayed together and through God’s grace we have been reconciling.”

The news was seemingly a major blow to Jackson’s wife, who made comments in 1984 to The Washington Post about the strength of her marriage to Jackson and the high level of trust between them.

“My portion of Jesse Jackson is mine,” she said, “and when I say that let me explain: I can’t spend too much time worrying about other women if I am to develop myself; then I would be chasing all around this country. I’ll tell you, that question bothers me. Don’t ask me that ever again.”

Jackson also addressed the need for both financial and emotional support for his daughter, empathizing with her situation since he was also the product of an affair.

“I am father to a daughter who was born outside of my marriage. As her mother does, I love this child very much and have assumed responsibility for her emotional and financial support since she was born,” he said. “I was born of these circumstances and I know the importance of growing up in a nurturing, supportive and protected environment so I am determined to give my daughter and her mother the privacy they both deserve.”

As for financial support, Jackson has been supplying that to Stanford since the child was born paying roughly $3,000 per month in child support, paying out $40,000 in moving costs for her and the child to relocate to California and $35,000 in severance pay from Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

In addition to her work at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Stanford also worked as a college professor for the University of Georgia and wrote a book about Jackson entitled Beyond the Boundaries: Reverend Jesse Jackson and International Affairs.

The announcement has received mixed reactions from the community at large, with positive reactions from both Jackson’s congregation and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. But the announcement has raised questions about his effectiveness as a leader in the black community and his credibility as a speaker, according to some sources.

Jackson, who was a close personal friend of Martin Luther King Jr. has been an active force in the civil rights movement since 1965. He has run for president twice, is president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition an organization that focuses on empowerment, education and the mobilization of minorities and is a published author.

Professor Vincent Moscardelli from the University of Massachusetts political science department felt that Jackson’s actions would be damaging to his associates more than to himself.

“He’s firmly entrenched, saying things that enough people agree with. His place will remain intact,” he said. “It may hurt the chances of people around him.”

“It really damages the Rev. Jackson’s credibility as a role model for young people, among other things,” Clarence Page, a columnist for The Chicago Tribune, told ABC NEWS’ Good Morning America. “I think the black community can separate his personal from his public life, but his effectiveness as a mainstream spokesman has been more or less been neutralized.”

Jackson’s plans have also changed following the announcement. He has decided to move away from the public eye opting to “revive his spirit and reconnect with his family,” before returning to his ministry.

Jackson did not attend the much-publicized protest and prayer rally on Jan. 20, in Tallahassee, Florida. The rally championed a cause about which Jackson was very vocal: what he refers to as the disenfranchisement of black voters in the state of Florida. Jackson and other supporters believed that the disregard for black votes likely cost Gore the election. The protest also dealt with the issues of black voter registration and education for minorities on political issues. However, Jackson will return to business as usual this week attending a meeting in New York for his “Wall Street Project,” a plan that seeks to build connections between minorities and corporate America.

The full damage of the scandal has yet to be determined and reactions remain mixed about how well he will bounce back from the crisis.

“Reverend Jackson is someone who has preached and talked about the message of redemption, acknowledging that people do make mistakes,” said ABC NEWS’ political director, Mark Halperin. “But clearly his critics will use this as an opportunity and hope it will be a factor in maybe him scaling back his effectiveness as public spokesman.”

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