Presumed guilty in Illinois

Posted on December 16, 2008

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What the hell has happened to “innocent until proven guilty” in the state of Illinois? Since when did mob rule – composed of the Illinois state legislature, much of the state and national media, and even President-elect Barack Obama himself – replace the rule of law?

Governor Rod Blagojevich may – may – be guilty of corruption. If what the FBI has released to the press is representative of their case against him, then Gov. Blagojevich probably is guilty. But not only is that a big “if”, Gov. Blagojevich’s case is looking more and more like “trial by media” instead of trial by jury. Even in the absence of any proof of guilt, the Illinois state legislature is already working on an impeachment, and the state constitution doesn’t appear to have many constitutional limitations on when the legislature can initiate an impeachment.

From what I’ve heard, Rod Blagojevich treats other state politicians like dirt. That makes him a jerk and an asshole. It doesn’t make him a felon. And accusations of corruption don’t constitute proof thereof. Springfield, Illinois has apparently become the Roman Colosseum, replete with gladiators. Time will tell if a better metaphor might be a human sacrifice to the false god of political purity.

It’s too much to hope, I’m sure, that the mob calling for Gov. Blagojevich’s head will wait for a conviction before burning down the Governor’s Mansion (metaphorically speaking, of course). But the fact that nearly everyone is calling for the head of a man who is presumed innocent says many things about our country – none of them good.

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