Just what would Abe Lincoln do? Think? Say? Or would he be curled up in a ball hiding in the corner just thinking about what politics in Chicago has become.
You may have heard that the Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, was arrested today (this afternoon he was released on $4500 bond) and faces corruption charges involving the newly vacated Obama senate seat, the Chicago Cubs and Children's Memorial Hospital.
It seems especially ironic that in the wake of Obama's victory and path to the presidency, which was built on his image as a man of integrity, honesty and change, we have Blagojevich who is trying to enrich himself by alledgedly trying to sell the vacant senate seat to the highest bidder? He is looking for the best deal and if no one gives him that well, then he'll just appoint himself.
I sat next to a man on the train ride home today and noticed he had printed and was reading the lengthy criminal complaint outlining just what Blagojevich had alledgedly said/done. Turns out he works for the Chicago Tribune himself and his brother-in-law is the one that broke this case. I congratulated him and then peered over his shoulder to read some of what the Governor, and even his wife, alledgedly said. It was disgusting, appalling and down right low class, some of the things they said and demands they made. I can't believe those words were coming out of the mouths of the Governor and First Lady of Illinois; incidentally, after reading the affadavit I use the word "lady" very loosely.
My first brush with Chicago politics and all the ugliness and dirt that can come with it was six years ago when my former employer was indicted by the FBI and is now in prison. He was said to be extremely politically connected in Chicago and the word was the vigor with which he was prosecuted was in order to make him an example. But he never cracked, talked or gave up any of his friends - or cronies as the paper said. I lived through all of that craziness and if nothing else I walked away realizing that you really can't (shouldn't) believe everything you read in the paper. I saw first hand how various situations ended up as carefully crafted (and sensationalistic) headlines. Never again will I read something and assume it is so; there are always two sides to the story.
However, with this one, I find it hard to believe there is anything that can redeem the Governor and his behavior, especially in light of the fact that his predecessor, former Governor George Ryan, himself is currently six and a half years for his racketeering and fraud gubernatorial missteps. Is that not enough to strike fear into one's heart and make them cross their "t's" and dot their "i's" knowing that they are also under the same type of scrutiny? The words "narcissist" and "sociopath" have been used to describe our Governor and now I understand why.
Ironically, just last week there were some stories about a push to have Ryan's sentence commuted; yes he is 74, and yes his wife is ailing and this and that. But I don't feel sorry for him - he did the crime so do the time. Look on the bright side Mr. Ryan; soon you may have another former Illinois governor to keep you company.