Rod R. Blagojevich is one of the most compassionate and creative governors in my state since Adlai Ewing Stevenson (1949-1953) or John Peter Altgeld (1893-1897), who spared by commutation some of the Haymarket Martyrs. As a result of Governor Blagojevich’s leadership, Illinois children are largely insured; because of him seniors ride gratis on the Chicago Transit Authority; he also tried rather heroically to get more affordable Canadian pharmaceuticals to be imported by the state suppliers but was stymied by the criminal Bush administration. He has saved lives in a nation that so gratuitously spills their blood in foreign wars or in emergency rooms as close to 50 million Americans suffer without health insurance. He has stood in solidarity with sit-in workers at the Republic Windows and Doors company displaced from jobs without adequate notification or severance pay. He has suspended all business with Bank of America that withdrew its credit lines for the company.
While he is presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the hyperbolic US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald, I can see that the application of this principle is null and void in this instance. Obviously elected officials should not engage in personal or spousal enrichment through unethical “pay to play” schemes but the hypocrisy in the criminal complaint and the obscene early morning “Entertainment Tonight arrest” at the Chicago home of Governor Blagojevich is unseemly. The FBI stated they did not want to wake up his children yet called him at 600am! The Democratic governor could have merely surrendered himself which is standard operating procedure v. arresting a governor at his home in handcuffs. Please!! This governor saved lives; this governor refused to reinstate the death penalty and continued the courageous moratorium instituted by his grandiose, if morally inconsistent, predecessor, George Ryan.
I am sure the replacement senator for Barack Obama will sell out to American militarism, vote to fund the Iraq War, oppose equal marriage, oppose ending the persecution of gays in the military, oppose a single payer health care system and adopt the smoke and mirrors of the Obama health plan. What difference does it make whether Rod discussed profiting from selling a senate seat or the senator-select becomes another prowar liberal who sells his or her soul to the “vital center?”
Our values should respect those who succor to the poor and weak and not parade these officials before a media inquisition that has essentially convicted him due to talking trash with the f-word and maybe scheming to defraud somebody for the president-elect’s senate seat. Did anyone actually take a bribe? Was one actually offered? Or is the wiretapping of speech leading to trumped up conspiracy charges the US Attorney’s gambit for glory in which possibly no illegal actions were committed?
Governor Blagojevich should be lauded for what he has done for the vulnerable in the state, and since he is supposedly innocent until proven guilty, remains a positive and constructive force for Illinois and its people. Mr George Bush should pardon him prior to his fiefdom’s exeunt on January 20, 2009. Unfortunately, he will probably not pardon or commute the sentence of Governor Ryan given the glare of publicity concerning his successor.