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The Telegram
  • Jerry Moore: Blagojevich verdict must motivate us to root out corruption

  • A federal jury found former Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty on 17 of 20 criminal counts today, ending a lengthy legal process. What I hope we gain from this experience is a renewed commitment to clean up government on every level.

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  • Well, this puts a crimp in somebody’s Fourth of July weekend plans, eh?
    A federal jury found former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty on 17 of 20 criminal counts today, ending a lengthy legal process. This story has made Illinois a national laughingstock for the past several years by exposing our sorry history of political corruption.
    There are more than a few tragedies that have resulted from all this. First of all, two children will lose their father for perhaps the next decade.
    Whatever you think of Blagojevich, it’s hard not to feel incredibly sad for his daughters. They never asked for any of this to occur, but they’re the ones who will needlessly bear the heaviest burden.
    Another tragedy is the way so many people now view us as a people. How in the world can we elect such a sleazy goofball to be our governor — twice? This has left little doubt in people minds about why our state is in such a financial mess.
    What I hope we gain from this experience is a renewed commitment to clean up government on every level. Politics as usual has led us down a path of destruction, and it must no longer be tolerated.
    Looking the other way while public officials manipulate the system of governance for the benefit of themselves or a few friends has had catastrophic consequences. We’ve long accepted corruption in Chicago-area politics with a wink, rationalizing that it’s simply the way we do things here.
    But corruption that’s ignored on the local level becomes corruption that’s ignored on the county level and corruption that’s ignored on the state level. The stakes become much higher as authority over larger budgets and more powerful agencies increases the temptation to wade in the murky waters of questionable behavior.
    We’ve nearly bankrupted ourselves in this state, and it seems to get worse every year. We’re going to pay for bad-faith deals that our elected leaders have made for many years to come.
    These jurors, however, have declared, “Enough is enough.” Their defining statement should motivate all of us to root out incompetence and self-entitlement everywhere we see it.
    Many politicians are gloating over the Blagojevich verdict, but they shouldn’t take too much comfort. What a jury proclaimed was inexcusable corruption in a criminal trial can be used as a new standard by which all officials should be judged.
    But we can’t wait for politicians to reform the system on their own. They’ll try and get away with as much as they believe they can, so it’s incumbent on us to apply the pressure.
    If they show they’re in public service for themselves, there’s the door. Regardless of their political ideology, no act of self-reward is too small for voter expulsion.
    Page 2 of 2 - Jerry Moore is the opinions editor for Suburban Life Publications near Chicago. Contact him at (630) 368-8930 or jmoore@mysuburbanlife.com.
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