So I was in the San Francisco Bay area this past October. I happened to be with a "friend" of mine, and we swung by her mother's house for a quick visit. Inevitably while I was there, the conversation turned to politics. Her mother knows that I am well versed when it comes to talking politics, and she asked my opinion of the, then, upcoming election. As I stated in the past, I voted for President Bush in the 2004 election, and her mother asked me, quite sarcastically I might add, "so are you voting for John McCain this time"? This question lead us to talk about a book that I was reading at the time called "The case against Barack Obama". She had heard of the book, and asked what was the gist of the argument against him. At that point, I had only made it through the first few chapters, so I explained to her that they were questioning some of his associations with local Chicago politicians. I said "I've heard of many of the people that they linked him with, and I must admit that I too have a problem with those associations. Chicago politics is a very dirty game, and I wonder just how down and dirty Obama got". It is with the backdrop of that conversation that I officially start this blog.
When you heard that O.J. Simpson had gotten himself in trouble again back in 2007, I'm sure that many of you asked yourselves a similar question to mine: Who could be so stupid? Well, on Tuesday, I got my answer. His name is Rod Blagojevich, the Governor of Illinois. (Or as I will call him from here on in this blog, Inmate number 11042008). On Tuesday, Inmate number 11042008 and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested on charges of wire and mail fraud, and solicitation of bribes. The charges themselves were not terribly surprising. What was surprising was that he was arrested for trying to sell the soon to be vacated Senate seat of Barack Obama. So I said to myself "they've had this fool under investigation for a while. Why would he be so stupid as to try and get bribes while the Feds were listening? I mean, he had to know that he wouldn't get away with it".
The Governor's actions were appalling and took a set of balls that would weigh down Paul Bunyan. But as usual, Inmate 11042008 has denied all charges. And with that denial, comes the inevitable refusal on his part to resign from his post. That to me is the biggest crime of all. I'm tired of government officials screwing up, and then refusing to, metaphorically, "fall on their sword".
The city of Detroit dealt with a huge scandal involving their then mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The video below is a synopsis of the charges lobbed against Kilpatrick.
I'd been hearing about the mayor and his troubles for a while. And I will be completely honest, I gave the brotha the benefit of the doubt. But as more and more information came to light, it became readily apparent that my man really needed to step down. Unfortunately, like many politicians in similar positions, he allowed his ego to get in the way, and he remained in office for far too long. Eventually Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to 120 days in jail. However, according to wikipedia, there were a laundry list of charges lobbed against Kilpatrick. Personally, I believe this brotha got off incredibly lucky.
Then there was Larry Craig. He was the Idaho senator who was busted in the Minneapolis Airport soliciting sex from an undercover (male) police officer in June of 2007. He originally pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct. But when the charges came to light, Craig tried to withdraw his guilty plea, something he is still contesting to this day. He also has denied being gay, however there have been many people who have come forward and refuted that claim. As usual, there were calls for Craig to step down as Senator. He initially refused to step down, but relented on September 1, 2007. Separate from the whole gay issue, which is none of my business, Craig was wrong for getting caught soliciting sex. He should have immediately given up his Senate seat.
My belief is that we as Americans made a huge mistake back in 1998-99. See, when the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal came to light, too many of us, me included, rallied to Bill Clinton's defense. What my man did was wrong. Yes cheating on his wife, but even worse than that, lying under oath. I liked Bill. Unofficially, he was the first black President. But my man had a greater responsibility to the American people. When it came to light that he had been fooling around in the White House, he should have resigned from office, and preserved the dignity of the office of the Presidency. By him fighting the charges, narrowly avoiding impeachment, and then finishing his term as President, he has given rise to other politicians across the country. Now they feel as though "Well, I'm not the President. And if he can get away with what he did, what I did is no big deal." Well what they do is a big deal! We elect these people to represent us, not themselves. I don't know about you, but I'd NEVER cheat on my wife. I'd NEVER solicit sex from a male police officer. And I'd NEVER try and sell a Senate seat! So why should I be represented by anyone who would?
In closing, I'd just like to say this about Inmate 11042008. I know that Chicago politics has always been a crooked game. Pay for play has been going on as long as the Championship drought for my beloved Cubs. But given the fact that you took over for a previously disgraced Governor, George Ryan, wouldn't it have been wise for you to try and restore some of the public trust? But I guess you just couldn't escape what "Chicago Way."