Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Nearly 60,000 people in my state primary elections yesterday voted for a longtime senator who happens to be under federal indictment. His trial will take place during the general election campaign. I really have to wonder: Why is that OK with people?

This guy has been caught up in the same net that has sent several state legislators packing on a rail, the public howling in indignation, even before they were convicted of anything.

Is it fear? Yes, the guy brings a lot of cash to the state, but really, who's to say our next senator won't be just as effective, or even more so. And rest assured, frightened sheeple, there will be a "next senator." Nobody lives forever. Like all of us, our senior senator will eventually succumb to time and then someone new will take his place.

Is the electorate taking the "innocent unless proven guilty" high road? I doubt it, as masses of human beings rarely seem to take the high road on anything. That said, certainly that facet of our justice system is an admirable one. Here's the thing, though: Being innocent and entitled to your liberty, prior to conviction, is one thing. Nobody is entitled to be an elected official. That happens with the consent of the people. That is a privilege. And I fail to see the wisdom in choosing to be represented by someone who, at the very least, has lost a great deal of credibility.

Best case scenario: He's acquitted and serves the remainder of his term with a cloud of doubt over his head.

Worst: He's elected. He's convicted. And the people gave away their right to choose someone to replace him. (Yes, there will always be the next election, but the power of incumbency, even after an appointment, is not to be dismissed.)

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