Friday, December 19, 2008

Governor Blagojevich deserves his day in court, not kangaroo court

Governor Blagojevich deserves his day in court, not kangaroo court
By Ray Hanania

It’s a tough choice between the lonely truth and the popular hypocrisy.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich deserves his day in court. Not in the kangaroo court contrived by the political lynch mob circling around his presumed remains, but in the light of the U.S. Constitution that every American is innocent until proven guilty and not one second, one legislative motion or one political diatribe too soon.

The events of the past 10 days since the governor was arrested and charged by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in an unprecedented guilty-until-proven innocent non-indictment have been stunning. Friday, Blagojevich, flanked by his attorneys, denied any guilt and insisted he is innocent.

Immediately, his critics in the legislature, who have been his critics for several years and who began impeachment proceedings long before Fitzgerald’s seemingly political accusations, ignored Blagojevich’s claim of innocence and stuck by their demands that he step down.

Attorneys for Blagojevich said that if the governor’s actions hurt the people of Illinois, he would step down, and his critics quickly jumped like kangaroos in a holding pen saying that the controversy has made Illinois the corruption laughing stock of the country.

Well, I have news for Blagojevich’s critics. Illinois has already long been the corruption laughing stock of the country. The state’s culture of corruption was here long before Blagojevich was elected governor six years ago.

And when Blagojevich is gone, that culture of corruption will remain, now heightened even more by a stampede of political kangaroos who hope to pounce on Blagojevich for their own political benefit.

First is House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, who has battled Balgoejvich incessantly. Despite some arguments that Blagojevich’s style has been unorthodox, and assertions in some cases illegal, Madigan has been after the governor for several years, acknowledging last week that he initiated the impeachment probe almost a year ago.

Next in line is Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn, the do-gooder that no-one in the Democratic establishment liked, until he became their only immediate alternative to Gov. Blagojevich. Despite Blagojevich’s claims that he is innocent, and the lack of “real” evidence of guilt other than the one-sided assertions of a possibly politically motivated US Attorney trying to save his job as a new Democratic president takes office, Quinn again called for Blagojevich to resign.

Resign, Quinn said, so that Quinn could be named as the acting governor, something Quinn knows he would never get in any election contest outside of the current turmoil he is helping to foment.

Then there is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan who is seeking Blagojevich’s job, too. She petitioned the state’s highest court to throw her rival out of office, but thankfully the high court stuck by the laws of America and the United States Constitution that affords its citizens the right to face the evidence, witnesses and accusers, to review the evidence and see the facts that have been waved around by the political lynch mob.

I don’t know if Blagojevich is innocent or guilty. But I do know that his rights are being abused.

If Blagojevich does not step down, or is allowed to stay in office as Fitzgerald is forced to follow the nation’s laws, the political lynch mob has argued they will impeach him on the earlier high crimes. Those “crimes” include that Blagojevich implemented a health program to help needy families in Illinois without the blessing of the lynch mob and the kangaroo court justices.

Legislators blasted Blagojevich claiming that they support helping needy families, too, but the track record shows they’ve done nothing but line their own pockets with power and campaign cash from contractors.

Blagojevich stood by the people. He is trying to stand by the law.

If I have to chose between an unpopular governor who is alone with his demand to be treated like an American citizen and not an Iraqi prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, or to join the lynch mob kangaroo court jesters that more than Blagojevich has sullied the national image of this state with their selfish eagerness to remove someone illegally, I think I would rather stand with Blagojevich.

I would rather that I was wrong while standing rightly by our Constitution which gives Blagojevich rights the kangaroo court and political lynch mob seeks to deny him.

Gov. Blagojevich just may well be guilty of the charges. But there is a proper way to make the determination, and then there is the way of the kangaroo court and the state’s political lynch mob.

And even if it turns out they are right and Blagojevich is guilty, being in that company would have a feeling of shame that in destroying the governor we also destroyed our system of justice.


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